DemDaily: Next Steps for Gorsuch

Senator Chris Coons

April 3, 2017

This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate.

While this is good news for Republicans hoping to see Gorsuch fill the empty spot on the bench, it also brings the Senate one step closer to a potential unprecedented situation involving a filibuster by the Democrats, and a parliamentary rule-changing measure known as the nuclear option by the Republicans.

For a rundown on the filibuster and nuclear option processes, see DemDaily: The Nuclear Nomination

Earlier today, four Democratic Senators, Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), stated that they would not support Gorsuch and committed to the filibuster effort, giving Democrats the 41 votes they need to prevent Gorsuch's nomination under the current rules via a filibuster.

"I am not ready to end debate on this issue, so I will be voting against cloture unless we are able as a body to finally sit down and find a way to avoid the nuclear option and ensure the process to fill the next vacancy on the court is not a narrowly partisan process, but rather an opportunity of both parties to weigh in and ensure we place a judge on the court who can secure support from members of both parties" - Senator Chris Coons

Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, would need a total of 60 votes to end the filibuster without triggering the nuclear option.

Democrats On the Fence

  • Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) said they would vote with the Republicans.
  • Michael Bennet (D-CO) will not vote for Gorsuch, but said he would not support the filibuster.
  • Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Angus King (I-ME) remain undecided. However, even if these three senators side with Republicans, it will not be enough to avoid the filibuster.

As always, DemList will keep you informed as developments unfold.

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