posted at 5:21 pm on March 28, 2017 by John Sexton
As Democrats continue to march toward a showdown in the Senate over the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that Gorsuch would be confirmed next week.
“As you know, next Monday Gorsuch will come out of committee, will be on the floor of the Senate next week and confirmed on Friday,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. He continued, “Judge Gorsuch, as you know, is extraordinarily well qualified. It’s almost amusing to watch our Democratic friends try to come up with some rationale for opposition. Several have suggested.
“Several have suggested that a Supreme Court Justice needs to get 60 votes. In fact, I think you already know, no Supreme Court Justice has ever been stopped with a partisan filibuster. There was one rather unusual exception, the Fortas nomination in 1968, ironically in the middle of a presidential election year in which both sides collaborated to stop the nomination. So no Supreme Court Justice has ever been stopped with a partisan filibuster.”
“That is obviously what the Democratic leader has announced they will do,” McConnell said. “We are optimistic that they will not be successful in keeping this good man from joining the Supreme Court very soon,” he concluded.
During a Q&A, McConnell was asked about the nuclear option and replied, “It will be really up to [Democrats] how the process to confirm Judge Gorsuch goes forward.” Asked if he had the votes to exercise the nuclear option, i.e. changing Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster, McConnell said, “I’m confident that he’ll be confirmed.” That’s about as close as you can come to stating that the nuclear option is going to happen without stating it outright.
Democrats don’t seem very hesitant to take this unprecedented step of a partisan filibuster against Judge Gorsuch, but Republicans seem just as confident he will be confirmed. The Associated Press reports Republican Senator Mike Rounds said today of the nuclear option, “A lot of us really hate the thought of using it. Nonetheless, it may very well be the ultimate outcome because one way or the other, we will have Judge Gorsuch on the bench.”