Claire McCaskill backs filibuster of Neil Gorsuch, makes nuclear option likely

Claire McCaskill says she will oppose Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and will vote with fellow Democrats to filibuster his nomination.

If Senate Democrats filibuster Gorsuch's nomination, McConnell would need to invoke cloture.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who are even more imperiled in 2018, have both already committed to voting for Gorsuch.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has been the loudest voice opposing Gorsuch, threatening that there will be bad consequences if the GOP changes Senate rules, as the Democrats did under Harry Reid several years ago for other nominees, and allow for a simple majority to end debate and move to an up-or-down vote. He says his decision won't be based on Senate Republicans refusing to hold a hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland previous year. Another two have voiced opposition to Gorsuch but have not made clear whether they would support a filibuster to block a confirmation vote. He's participated in past judicial confirmation compromises created to retain Senate traditions including the filibuster.

In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen.

In 2016, President Donald Trump won the home states of three of the four senators the Judicial Crisis Network is targeting in its latest ad buy.

Eleven Democrats, including Coons, have yet to announce whether they would vote against Gorsuch or support a filibuster.

With McCaskill's declaration, there are now at least 36 Democrats supporting the filibuster, based on an Associated Press count earlier Friday of at least 35.


Some Democrats have said Republicans "stole" a Supreme Court seat previous year when the Senate refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Scalia, appellate judge Merrick Garland. Still, Coons appeared highly disappointed in some of Gorsuch's answers last week, and he said on MSNBC that he doubts Gorsuch will be able to get the 60 votes needed to advance through the process.

"And once I get those answers from his past decisions it will give me a pretty good indication how he's going to perform on the court, and then I will either vote for him or against him". Dianne Feinstein of California, the Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, told Gorsuch.

She's the first Democrat up for re-election in a heavily red state next year to say she'll join the filibuster, and her decision marks a break with two others, Sens.

Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Donnelly of IN also both represent strongly Trumpy states and are as yet undecided.

On the other hand, perhaps we should just wait until the midterm elections in 2018 so that the voters can weigh in and decide the issue, especially now that they have seen the nominee and the criteria by which the president selected him.

She announced her opposition in a statement posted to Medium, faulting the nominee for "a stunning lack of humanity". A conservative is replacing a conservative with this inane filibuster attempt Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to cobble together.

Although such a change might seem procedural or obscure, it is known on Capitol Hill as the "nuclear option" because it would amount to a dramatic departure from Senate norms of bipartisanship and collegiality.

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