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First Gorsuch Supreme Court decision: McConnell v. Schumer

First Gorsuch Supreme Court decision: McConnell v. Schumer

Only one can win . . .

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appeared this morning on Meet the Press and announced that the Republicans are unlikely to reach the 60 votes needed to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.   Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-) later appeared on the same show and announced that Gorsuch would indeed be confirmed and that it would happen as early as this week.

The NY Daily News reports:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, likely won’t get the 60 Senate votes he needs for confirmation — even as the GOP ensured Gorsuch is a go.

“It looks like Gorsuch will not reach the 60-vote margin,” Schumer told “Meet the Press” ahead of the Senate’s expected vote this week on the nomination.

Gorsuch has faced stiff stonewalling by Senate Democrats who are opposed to some of his conservative views — and are still fuming from the GOP’s refusal to vote for Merrick Garland, the judge former President Obama tapped to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

When pressed as to why he would not support Gorsuch, Schumer’s answer was quite revealing.  He didn’t mention any concerns about Gorsuch as a justice; instead, he waffled on about how he’s simply doing what the Republicans did to Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.  So there!

Schumer does so without noting, of course, that Obama’s nominee was put forth during a presidential election year, and that the timing of that matters.  There is simply no way the Democrats would have confirmed a Bush or Trump nominee during a presidential election year should the tables have been reversed.


This tit for tat nonsense is unlikely to sway Americans to support the Democrats’ stonewalling.  “They did it first” is juvenile and petty, far beneath the dignity of the Senate.

Schumer also had the temerity to suggest that the GOP drop Gorsuch so that the Democrats and GOP would be “even,” each not getting a Supreme nominee they wanted and look instead for what he called a “more middle-of-the-road” nominee.  It’s not easy to watch a grown man with such power and influence talk like a ten-year-old on the playground.

Needless to say, McConnell does not take this proposal seriously and instead correctly notes that the American people voted for President Trump, not Hillary Clinton, to select the next Supreme Court Justice.

When asked if he would actually invoke the nuclear option should the Democrats not vote for cloture, McConnell chuckled and said that Gorsuch will be confirmed this week and added that how that happens is up to the Democrats.


With the current make-up of the Senate, the Republicans, who hold 52 Senate seats, would need eight Democrats to vote for cloture to move the Gorsuch nomination forward.

The Washington Post explains:

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, may fall short of the votes needed for smooth passage in the Senate next week, potentially dashing Republican hopes for an easy victory after the stinging defeat of the American Health Care Act last week.

Gorsuch needs 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle required of high-court confirmations in the Senate, but Republicans, who hold just 52 seats, may not have the votes in a chamber that is divided deeply along partisan lines.

Republicans do, however, have the votes to choose the “nuclear option” — to change the rules and allow Gorsuch’s confirmation — and others after it — to proceed on a simple majority vote. That would upend a long-standing Senate tradition that forces the governing party to seek bipartisan support.

Thus far, three “at risk” Democrats have announced that they will support Gorsuch.  The latest of whom is Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

CNN reports:

Sen. Joe Donnelly announced Sunday that he will support the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers,” the Indiana Democrat said in a statement.

Donnelly is the third Senate Democrat to support Gorsuch, joining Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

. . . . In his statement, Donnelly added the Senate “should keep the current 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.”


Seven Democrat Senators (one on the list is an Indie who votes with the Democrats) have not yet said how they will vote.


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Nuke ’em.

DINORightMarie | April 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Warner won’t say (he is SUCH a loser-leftist!) – but he is in-line 1000% with his Party, and will stick with them. He’s a NO.

Koons? Feinstein? Menendez? No WAY they will stand against the Party. All will be NO.

Bennett, King, and Tester – toss-up, although I say they will stick with the Democrats. (Just read another article re: Angus King; he is the ONLY one who may flip, on this list, IMHO.)

Looks like the Nuclear Option or bust. Does McConnel have the cojones to do it?! Doubtful…………

    In the case of McConnell it’s more a thirst for power rather then cajones. He’s going to do everything to maximize his power including going against his “principles”. I think after seeing what Ryan has gone through for failing on ACA, not what the press is saying, but what rank and file Repubs are saying, the only way he will not pull the trigger is if he doesn’t have the votes to win.

    The key is the goofballs like McCain.

Agreed. And, McConnell doesn’t even need to use the nuclear option to destroy a filibuster of Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, though to do so is more than warranted by Schumer’s irresponsible behavior and statements. It might even be more entertaining were he to require, in order to sustain the filibuster, that the Democrats actively hold the Senate floor. He ought to tell Schumer to supply his people with lots of Red Bull, protein bars, and adult diapers, if they planned on filibustering Gorsuch — because they’d be up all night.

Given the advanced age of so much of that caucus’ membership, such a requirement would be a good deal harsher than the nuke. If nothing else, it might be supremely entertaining to watch Pat Leahy and Debbie Stabenow attempt to deliver soliloquys at 4 a.m. without bathroom breaks or to witness Cory Booker’s attempts to avoid disqualifying himself for the 2020 election in three hours of holding forth about fictional dope dealers who want him dead or other inanities he can spout from memory. Faced with the pressure of sustaining such a show, Schumer might well fold his hand.

What McConnell should not do is attempt to wait Schumer out.

It’s clear the Democrats aren’t through with their post-election tantrum, and the volume of their screeching isn’t decreasing regardless of the drumbeat of polls indicating the American people aren’t interested in hearing it. Letting them carry on in hopes they’ll get tired is a mistake — what’s needed is pressure, in doses neither Schumer nor his colleagues, nor his ideological comrades camped outside his Manhattan apartment demanding Moar Obstruction!, can withstand.

It’s war. They wanted it, and they’re prosecuting it despite the ultimate hopelessness of their cause. McConnell has the means of victory in his hands and a responsibility to use it.

Subotai Bahadur | April 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Bennet will vote against Gorsuch unless he has a gun to his head. And even then he may decide to take one for the Party. One thing to watch. Cory Gardner, the theoretical Republican Senator from Colorado [hard core #Never Trump during the Primaries, the General Election, and since the Inauguration] has voted identically with Bennet since he was elected to the Senate a couple of years ago on every issue of importance.

If they don’t get Gorsuch on the court, the GOP is done barring something huge and successful.

The next few years will just be a slow walk by a flock of lame ducks.

    I’ll suggest the same thing I’ve been suggesting, for health care and SCOTUS (and lesser court) nominations and everything else.

    Play the Dems’ “take it or leave it” game right back at them. Make it clear, right now, that Gorsuch is THE MOST “middle-of-the-road” nominee the Dems are going to get. If they block a vote, the next nominee will be even more conservative and Originalist. The next nominee will not say (for example) that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land like Gorsuch did; he/she will say it’s a travesty of justice that needs to be reversed.

    Then, if the Dems still insist on blocking votes, nuke the filibuster and put a REAL Originalist on the SCOTUS bench and every other lower court in the country.

    (This is what the GOP should have done with the health care bill, the budget during Obama’s tenure, etc. “This is what you get, take it or leave it. But if you reject it, you’re going to like the next one even less.”)

    When the Dems were in control they played a “my way or the highway” game. They’re still trying to play it now, and whining and blocking when the GOP picks a third option. While I’m perfectly OK with the Dems displaying their immaturity to the world, there’s still business that needs to get done. The real problem is, by letting the Dems’ little game continue, the GOP is tacitly condoning it — lending it a false legitimacy. This needs to stop; you can’t reach a reasonable consensus with a group that by definition is unreasonable.

    The response should be simple: “Keep acting like children, and you’ll be treated like children; left out of important discussions and decisions.” But I don’t believe McConnell or any other GOP Senator (except maybe Ted Cruz or Rand Paul) has the spine for that.

What happens if they try the nuclear option and fail? Do they lose their chance or get to try again.

I have to admit that if they set a precedent that cannot be overturned, then I would be wary of Collins, Snow and McCain not voting for the nuclear option because they are goofballs.
Graham has already all but said that he will vote to nuke.

I say if they can try it again later go for it. Most certainly it will work in the next session if the GOP picks up a couple of Senators which is likely with the Senate demographics.

Worst is the filibuster stays, and Trump makes Gorsuch a recess appointment.

I also think you want to go nuclear now rather then wait for the next one. It may be possible to reverse the invoke option for Gorsuch, but not for Pryor or Sykes. So going nuclear now would be better and have it set as precedent.

The worst is a deal I’m hearing of where pass Gorsuch, but bring back the filibuster for lower court judges. No. That’s grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.

The ONLY objective is the confirmation of Gorsuch. I don’t give a rats arse how they do it just as long as they do it.


The funniest part is talking about how Garland was badly treated. The GOP told Obama what would happen. Garland knew how he would be treated before he accepted the appointment. If he didn’t want to be treated that way, he should not have accepted.
He chose to let what happened happen, for the slight chance that somehow he would end up upon the Supreme Court.

    tom swift in reply to RodFC. | April 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I still don’t believe Obama would have appointed him if he’d believed there was any chance the Senate would confirm. Another white guy with some actual qualifications? No way, that’d be throwing away a seat he could fill with somebody useless. Think Sotomayer, Kagan, Gorsuch … one of these things is not like the others …

    fscarn in reply to RodFC. | April 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Before Scalia’s body was brought back to DC for burial McConnell had laid down the ground rule that there’d be no up-or-down on any person Obama nominated. Garland wasn’t in the picture. Still, Garland happily jumped into the cauldron.

    Chuck always-faithful-to-the-actual-words-of-the-Constitution Schumer apparently doesn’t realize he gets to play in the game of choosing SC judges. That’s how Article II works: the president appoints, and then he and the other 99 get to choose.

    “He . . . by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States . . .”

Frankly I think McConnell shouldn’t even call for a cloture vote.

Schumer announced he was going to filibuster. Just invoke the nuclear option and don’t give him a chance to weasel out of it by quietly having a few Democrats break ranks.

Schumer is trying to play both sides, pander to his base and still keep the nuclear option. Ram it down his throat.

    Milhouse in reply to Olinser. | April 3, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Um, you seem to have no idea what the nuclear option is, or you’d know that what you propose is impossible. If there’s no cloture vote (or if there is but it gets the 60 votes it needs) how can there be an appeal or a vote on it/

      What I think he’s saying is, call for a vote on whether to vote on Gorsuch. If the Dems try to filibuster, don’t call for a cloture vote. Instead, nuke the filibuster. Then hold the vote on Gorsuch without any possibility of opposition.

      Olinser in reply to Milhouse. | April 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      YOU don’t seem to understand what the nuclear option is.

      The nuclear option is changing the Senate procedural rules so that debate can ended by 51 votes instead of 60 (and since its Senate procedural rules they could literally pick any number they wanted).

      No cloture vote is required. They could change their rules right now, if they wanted to.

There are three parties in this country right now: the democrat, GOP and Trump. Of the three, only the GOP has NO base. None – just a handful of rich donors whose handful of votes mean nothing.

Trump should consider quitting the GOP and let it – and all the rinos infesting it – die on the vine.

    Donors who dried up as soon as Trump was elected the nominee. Even Cruz was offered some money. And he, in his own way, is as far from the Chamber Republicans as Trump.

Only one can win . . .

I’m not so sure about that. They’re both accomplished losers.

If it’s at all possible, they’ll figure out a way where they both lose.

inspectorudy | April 2, 2017 at 10:28 pm

The childish behavior of the people in DC makes me want to just drop out and never turn on the TV again. Now it the Dems but the Repubs have been just as bad on other issues. What happened to the “Wise” Senator profile? They are nothing but partisan hacks with no skills necessary to make our government work for the people. Any fool can see where this is heading and the Dems are making things very troublesome for themselves. obama had already appointed two marginal justices and to allow him to appoint a third, especially in an election year, was something that no one thought was a good idea but obama. This will come back to haunt both parties in the future but it seems that no one cares about the future anymore. They only worry about the next election.

    “…but it seems that no one cares about the future anymore. They only worry about the next election.”

    Yes, that is EXACTLY the point: from the GOPe perspective. Corrupt, useless sh-ts, almost all of them – barely a patriot in the bunch.

    But don’t underestimate how dearly the left cares about the ‘future’ – much like the Soviets and Maoists did.

I live in a state with two Dem senators who follow Schumer like little puppy dogs. If they really cared about our state, they would negotiate with the Trump admin to get commitments for a few dozen new highways and bridges and major infrastructure repairs in our state in return for voting for Gorsuch. That’s the way things used to work.
Instead, I suspect they will throw away their votes just to stay in the good graces of the other Dems. I wish they would place the benefits to their constituents above their Party.

    Arminius in reply to OldProf2. | April 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    OldProf2, you’ve just articulated the reason why we need to repeal the 17th Amendment. Before the 17th Amendment, which provided for the popular vote for Senators, Senators were elected by state legislatures.

    Your Senators would have been required to put your state’s interests ahead of Chuck Schumer’s and the DNC.

Chuck Todd is very confused. The Biden rule is that no vacancies that arise in the middle of a Presidential campaign. And Chuck Todd seems to think we vote for a new President every two years.

I don’t like McConnell much but I enjoyed watching him chuckle as the obviously partisan Todd was just losing his sh*t.

If I had been McConnell I’d have kept yanking his chain until his head exploded. In October of last year when Reid thought Hillary Clinton would win, and perhaps there was a chance that the Dems would retain control of the Senate, he said this:

“I really do believe that I have set the Senate so when I leave, we’re going to be able to get judges done with a majority. It takes only a simple majority anymore. And, it’s clear to me that if the Republicans try to filibuster another circuit court judge, but especially a Supreme Court justice, I’ve told ’em how and I’ve done it, not just talking about it. I did it in changing the rules of the Senate. It’ll have to be done again,” Reid told TPM in a wide-ranging interview about his time in the Senate and his legacy.

“They mess with the Supreme Court, it’ll be changed just like that in my opinion,” Reid said, snapping his fingers together. “So I’ve set that up. I feel very comfortable with that.”

So when Chuck Todd asked McConnell if he now thought that Reid made the right decision I’d have said, “No, he made a terrible decision. But you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. He changed the Senate rules, and once you do that it can’t be undone. Moreover he bragged that the Democrats have done it once, and they would do it again if the Republicans remained in the minority and tried to filibuster any of Hillary Clinton’s SCOTUS nominees. And if the situation were reversed, Chuck, you wouldn’t be talking about ‘slippery slopes’ with Majority Leader Schumer. YOu’d be talking about how obstructionist Republicans are only getting what they deserve. Because, face it Chuck, just like your fellow partisans in the Senate you think that win or lose the Democrats get to choose Supreme Court justices. And what’s clearly upsetting you is that Republicans are acting exactly like the Democrats said they would in order to put their President’s choices on the bench. To partisans like you that’s upsetting the natural order of things.”

Then I would have chuckled some more.