On Tuesday night, President Donald J. Trump officially nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch, who currently sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, would replace the legendary late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away suddenly last year.
Immediately after President Trump nominated Gorsuch, conservatives across the nation praised the selection, calling Gorsuch a strong conservative with an originalist view of the Constitution. Despite the fact that Gorsuch will be replacing another conservative on the Supreme Court, and thus not impacting its ideological balance, the left is already threatening to fight.
As we reported on Monday, Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon threatened to filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, even before the individual had been formally announced. In addition, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer signaled his party was prepared for a fight, saying Democrats will try and block Gorsuch’s nomination.
Now, upon learning of the Democrats’ obstructionist plans, President Trump sent a strong message to Republicans: use the nuclear option if necessary.
Under current Senate rules, a Supreme Court nominee requires 60 votes to be confirmed, and if a member of the Senate blocks a vote on the nominee by continuously speaking on the floor – filibustering, then that nominee cannot be approved. The “nuclear option” would change that rule and require a simple majority to confirm any Supreme Court nominee, a rule change that the Republican-controlled Senate can change with a mere 51 votes.
Ted Cruz reportedly says nuclear option is on table in Supreme Court pick https://t.co/8rGbnIOKiu
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 1, 2017
Speaking to reporters during a meeting with supporters of Judge Gorsuch, President Trump argued “If we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear. That would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. It’s up to Mitch, but I would say go for it. I think there’s a certain dishonesty if they go against their vote from not very long ago.”
Democrats have provided no real objections to Gorsuch’s nomination, other than to complain that President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was blocked during an election year. When President George W. Bush nominated Gorsuch to the court in 2006, 45 Democrats joined in a unanimous voice vote confirming him to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
One Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, has opposed the idea of filibuster, arguing that the Senate should give Gorsuch “a chance” but still supported the 60-vote threshold for approving all Supreme Court nominees.
Do you think the Senate should invoke the “nuclear option” if Democrats try and filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s nomination? Share your thoughts below!