The Senate Judiciary Committee Monday voted along party lines to advance Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch out of committee, pushing his nomination to the Senate floor where a filibuster now awaits.
Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats gained enough votes to block the nomination on the floor, a move that appears certain to lead Republicans to change Senate rules and allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of the current 60-vote threshold.
Four Democrats announced their opposition to Gorsuch Monday morning, including three on the Senate Judiciary Committee who spent the morning debating his nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday indicated that he will proceed with the co-called “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and avoid a filibuster.
“Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens will really depend on what will happen with our Democratic friends,” said McConnell on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Republicans currently hold 52 seats in the Senate. Democrats forced a rules change in 2013 after Senate Republicans blocked most of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees and several cabinet positions.
The “nuclear option” imposed then reduced the threshold for passage from 60 votes to 51 votes for all cabinet and judicial positions other than the Supreme Court, allowing Obama’s nominees to pass. It’s a decision that Schumer has said he laments. But McConnell’s refusal to even consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, not giving him a hearing or even holding meetings, inflamed tensions.