Senate prepares to change rule on Supreme Court

Carla Harmon
April 6, 2017

McConnell and Republicans intend to respond by unilaterally changing Senate rules to remove the 60-vote filibuster requirement for Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees, reducing it to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate. "So far, Republicans are not backing down from that threat".

The fate of the filibuster, a Senate rule that protects the minority, will be decided this week and it's about more than a Supreme Court nomination.

"The damage done to the Senate is going to be real", Sen. Previous year it spent a reported $2 million on ads to block Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, who didn't even get a confirmation hearing. You can't go on being bought off, pushed around, made a fool of and outmaneuvered by unprincipled adversaries like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who one year ago, backed by the likes of the Judicial Crisis Network and a host of secret donors, crudely and completely blocked Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court. The Senate would then vote on Thursday on whether to limit the debate. Maria Cantwell of Washington state and Bill Nelson of Florida, joined Republicans in ending a threatened filibuster against conservative nominee Samuel Alito.

Really! McConnell the hypocrite simply had Merrick Garland disappeared, to be replaced now by Neil Gorsuch, the protégé of a plutocrat. Based on their close examination of the record, the vast majority have concluded that Neil Gorsuch can not be allowed on the Supreme Court.

Leaders of both parties on Tuesday appeared resigned to the fate that Republicans will invoke the so-called nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster for nominees to the nation's highest court. That would be unprecedented at this level.

"There was a poem I recall, and it went like this: 'When I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there; he wasn't there again today, I wish that man would go away, '" said Sen.

Absent some unexpected plot twist, the Senate is on course to confirm Gorsuch, end filibusters on Supreme Court nominees and leave recriminations even among the victors by the end of the week. McConnell, one of the few who has gone from heavily hinting about the rules change to outright saying it, was asked at his Tuesday press conference whether he has the votes to change the rules.

The Senate judiciary committee on Monday voted 11-9 along party lines to send Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate for debate.

His decision doesn't change the overall political calculus on Gorsuch, who is likely to be confirmed in the Senate, where Republicans have vowed that they will change rules to confirm Trump's pick if Democrats keep them short of the 60 votes required to break a filibuster.

"First - While at first coming across as honest, personable and thoughtful, over time I found that his answers seemed, at best, increasingly evasive, and, at worst, simply not forthright". I don't think it's the right thing to do. Your party has unnecessarily played games with this nomination and now we're going to finish what you started, so we can "have democracy".

SERFATY: But Democrats have been emboldened after Republicans refuse to hold a hearing past year for President Obama's Supreme Court justice pick Merrick Garland. Forty-four Democrats intend to vote against proceeding to final confirmation on Gorsuch, which would be enough to block him under the Senate's filibuster rules that require 60 votes to proceed.

To be sure, Gorsuch holds views that we and many Americans find wrong-headed, including his approach to worker safety and defense of President Bush's aggressive interrogation techniques. Republicans have said regardless of what the Democrats do, Gorsuch will be confirmed on Friday.

CHRIS CUOMO: Politically sticky situation but logically simple.

"Third - From reading his opinions and analyzing his work as an appellate judge, however, a picture does emerge, not of an independent judge, but of a judicial activist well to the right of the current members of the Court, except perhaps Justice Thomas, on fundamental issues of constitutional structure". As long as Republicans have the majority, they should consider using their power. That would be something.

"We'll see what happens".

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