April 4, 2017

Senate Judiciary Committee advances nomination of Judge Gorsuch

President Trump with Judge Gorsuch
President Trump with Judge Gorsuch
Like many of you, before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 to advance to the full Senate the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to become the newest member of the Supreme Court, I jumped back and forth between the debate and the press of other stories.

The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, 52 to 48. Under current Senate precedents, it would require 60 votes to “invoke cloture” to end a filibuster on a Supreme Court nominee, which means that at least eight Democrats would have to join the Republicans to end the anticipated filibuster against Gorsuch that liberal grounds have demanded. It now seems apparent that there will not be eight — as of this afternoon, 41 Democrats have publicly declared that they will oppose ending the filibuster.

However, in 2013 the then-majority Democrats lowered the cloture threshold from 60 to a simple majority for all other presidential nominations, and Republican senators could now do the same thing for nominations to the Supreme Court if 50 of them agree — the so-called “nuclear option.”

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