WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Democrats’ planned filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is a “new low” but he stopped short of saying he will change Senate rules to confirm him.
McConnell has strongly indicated - but hasn’t said outright - that he would change Senate rules so that Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority in the 100-seat chamber. Sixty votes are now required to advance his nomination. McConnell has vowed that Gorsuch will be confirmed, and how that happens depends on what Democrats do.
Forty-two Democrats said Monday they will vote to block Gorsuch, one more than needed. Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, McConnell said: “It’s not too late for our Democratic colleagues to make the right choice.”
The Judiciary Committee approved Gorsuch’s nomination Monday, sending it to the full Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said President Donald Trump should choose a new nominee to the Supreme Court. He made the comments after Democrats secured the votes to block the nominee. He dismissed the idea that Republicans have no choice but to change the rules as “a premise that no one should swallow.”
Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin became the latest Democrat to announce that he will vote with Democrats to block Gorsuch’s nomination, bringing the total to 42.
But it was Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, that ensured that the Senate Democratic filibuster would hold. He was the crucial 41st vote and he announced his decision Monday as the Senate Judiciary Committee met to vote on Gorsuch’s nomination. Coons said that he had decided to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee over concerns that include his vague answers in his hearing.
Coons’ opposition will prevent Republicans from reaching the 60 votes they need to move Gorsuch over procedural hurdles to a final Senate vote. Determined to confirm him despite Democratic objections, they will likely change Senate rules later this week to reduce the threshold from 60 to a simple majority.