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Senate Dems Have the Votes to Filibuster, Nuclear Option Imminent?

Senate Dems Have the Votes to Filibuster, Nuclear Option Imminent?

Senate Dems have the votes to filibuster, but will Republicans go nuclear?

Friday, the Senate will hold a confirmation vote fo Trump Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Senate Democrats are feverishly working to whip up enough votes to filibuster Gorsuch’s confirmation.

As it stands, Senate Democrats are still short the votes need to block Gorsuch’s ascension to the Supreme Court.

Ranking Senate Judiciary Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, said Monday she will not vote for Judge Gorsuch:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, announced she will oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Monday.

“Unfortunately, based on Judge Gorsuch’s record at the Department of Justice, his tenure on the bench, his appearance before the Senate and his written questions for the record, I cannot support this nomination,” she told colleagues before a scheduled committee vote on his nomination.

A spokesman also said that she will support a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Warner is also a no:

Michael Bennet (D-CO) however, won’t support the filibuster. In a statement, he said, “using the filibuster and nuclear option at this moment takes us in the wrong direction.”

Coons also a ‘no’.

With Coons voting no, that gives Senate Dems the 41 needed to filibuster.

Republicans could still invoke the nuclear option, requiring only a simple majority to confirm Gorsuch.


With Senate Democrats cobbling together enough votes to filibuster the confirmation vote, Senate Republicans are left with the “nuclear option.”

It wasn’t so long ago the former Senate Majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid, invoked the nuclear option, saying, “it had to be done.”

From the WaPo:

This week’s anticipated change in Senate procedure dates to 2013, when Democrats, angered by Republican opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominees, used the “nuclear option” to end filibusters of executive branch and lower-court nominees, prompting Republicans to warn that there might one day be retribution.

“Changing the rules is almost inevitable; it’s only a question of when,” said Norm Ornstein, a longtime congressional expert and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Ornstein warned that with Republicans set to extend the filibuster ban to Supreme Court nominees, they may soon face pressure to end filibusters of legislation to keep major health-care and tax reform bills passed by the GOP-led House from stalling in the more closely-divided Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “will resist the change in some cases because it’s in his interest not only when he’s in the minority again but also to be able to rely on Democrats when the House sends you crazy things,” Ornstein said. “And because it’s not clear they have the 51 votes necessary to change the rules for filibusters on legislation.”

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nuke them and be done with it.

they made the rules, now they can live by them…

    Sen. Surrender (aka Sen. McConnell) is an ineffective “leader” and needs to retire.

    If he pulls the trigger on the Nuclear option, and it fails because of RINOs like McCain and Murkowski, McConnell will have been stripped of what little dignity he has left, and I would expect an immediate challenge from one of the far right Conservatives for the leadership, with this failure being the crown jewel in the case against McConnell.

    If McConnell does not have the votes to trigger the Nuclear Option, McConnell had better damn well be ready to use Senate Procedure to wallop the Democrat members.

    There ARE other procedures that can be used (they’ve been talked about here extensively). The “two speech” rule is the go to hill-to-die-on if the Nuclear option fails. Yes, it will stall the Senate for about two weeks. My guess is that the Democrat members won’t be able to stand there and speak for more than about 6 hours at a shot before they start passing out and having to be taken away on stretchers.

    The only other thing I can think of would be if this were a coordinated strategy between McConnell, Trump and Gorsuch himself, where Gorsuch were willing to take one for the team with a promise of being nominated again for the NEXT open position (when Kennedy retires), Trump being immediately ready to pull an ULTRA-Conservative textualist out of his back pocket for immediate nomination, and McConnell being willing to say “well, we TRIED it the Democrat way, and they decided to throw a temper-tantrum. So we’re going to RAM the President’s new nominee onto the Court whether they like it or not.”

    I think the latter scenario VERY unlikely, but it’s not impossible and I’ve been surprised before.

If the GOP triggers the nuclear option and fail to bring it off, are they precluded from trying it again in the future?

If not then I really do want a filibuster. The next candidate is less likely be successful in triggering the nuclear option.

    For the GOP to fail to deliver 51 votes after going nuclear would be the equivalent of the LA Rams failing to score even though they are the only team on the field. Would there then be any reason for ANYONE to pretend that there is no such thing as the Republican party?

    If it were not for the Freedom Caucus, there would be no one in DC fighting for the official GOP platform.

      One word. McCain, Snow, Collins.

        inspectorudy in reply to RodFC. | April 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        Snow is no longer a Senator. But we do have Murkowski and Alexander and Corker.

          Tom Servo in reply to inspectorudy. | April 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

          There are many things I don’t like about McConnell, but he’s much better at corralling his members than Ryan is. He’s also not given to exaggeration, and McConnell is showing the confidence of a man who’s already done the work needed to nail down the votes.

      buckeyeminuteman in reply to Pasadena Phil. | April 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      The GOP are the only team on the Legislative-Executive field and even the House field and yet they couldn’t hold a simple repeal vote like they promised. If anyone knows how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it’s the GOP…

I agree with redc1c4: Nuke ’em and be done with it.

BTW Lindsey Graham’s speech on the committee today was surprisingly good.

    Arminius in reply to RodFC. | April 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Graham was one of the Republicans I was worried about when it came for voting for the nuclear option. But he was on Hugh Hewitt last week and he sounded like he’s is solid yes vote. He said, among other things, how does a Republican go back home and tell the voters that he didn’t vote for a rules change when the Democrats voted for the same rules change to pack the lower courts. That the Democrats get their judges, but the GOP will shoot itself in the foot to make sure we get none of ours. I don’t see how you walk that back and vote no on the Reid option.

    If Graham is as committed to voting yes on the Reid option as he sounds, then McCain is probably willing to go along as well since those two seem to be joined at the hip. That only leaves Murkowski and Collins to worry about IMO. And Graham did say that he’s worried about a couple of Republicans as well. But if we only lose two Pence is the tiebreaker. And those two need to be primaried as they’re really traitors working for the Dems.

    Arminius in reply to RodFC. | April 4, 2017 at 12:32 am

    As I suspected, if Graham is onboard with the Reid option so would McCain. He announced that he figures he has no choice but to nuke the Dems as they’re being such a bunch of @$$hats.

    My only concern now is that the squishier Repubs will vote against the next nom should Ginsberg keel over or Kennedy retire. They might vote with the Dems claiming that the next guy is too “extreme.” Or, worse, that they’ll agree with the Dems that it’s important to retain “ideological balance” by filling the Ginsberg seat with another Ginsberg and the Kennedy seat with another Kennedy.

      Any “Republican” who says anything of the sort like “it’s important to maintain ideological balance on the Court” will be INVITING a primary where they will be fighting a tsunami of funding against them while watching their own fundraising drop to zero overnight.

      Anything in any manner like a soundbite like that would be repackaged with sinister music and a voice-over about how traitorous it is for a Republican to fail to advance personal freedom when given the opportunity.

      The Tea Partiers and Conservatives will show up in DROVES to make sure that candidate is run out of town on a rail.

inspectorudy | April 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm

I am sure that McConnell already has his speech to invoke the nuclear option ready to read as soon as the Dems make fools of themselves. I would bet my wife that he would never even think of doing this if he didn’t already have the votes to invoke and sustain it.

    JohnC in reply to inspectorudy. | April 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    So, how much do you love your wife?
    Just saying. Some guys might consider such a loss to be a win. You never know.

      inspectorudy in reply to JohnC. | April 3, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      I accidently gave you a thumbs down when I was trying to hit reply. As for my wife, I’ll quote my favorite old actor, Charlton Heston, “From my cold dead hands”.
      She’s my Sun and Moon.

Instead of doing the nuclear option, make the democrats actually filibuster. It’ll be amusing to see how long these old farts last.

    Before giving them the opportunity to filibuster, McConnell needs to vote to change the rules, to require that the party holding a filibuster must hold the Senate floor. (In practice, that means a single Senator must hold the floor; as soon as he/she steps aside, the majority party can put someone up who will move to vote.) Right now, they basically say, “We’re not supporting cloture,” and that’s that.

    Saying is one thing. Doing is quite another.

    And it’d be highly amusing to try and watch a Dem Senator hold the floor for several hours, no breaks, no restroom visits, trying to remain coherent.

    Just how dedicated to the filibuster are they?

    Arminius in reply to tkc882. | April 3, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    This isn’t a filibuster as you imagine it is. It’s misleading to call this a filibuster. It’s a matter of parliamentary procedure. As I understand Senate Rule XXII, when a bill or other matter is presented to the Senate (i.e. is voted out of committee) the presiding officer (or clerk at the direction of the presiding officer) states the motion to the Senate. Then on the next calendar day one hour after the Senate convenes they take the roll, and if a quarum is present the presiding officer asks “Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?” Then the Senate votes yea or nay.

    This is the cloture vote. If it passes then the legislation or other matter is the only subject of consideration before the Senate and debate is limited to no more than 30 hours. After which the matter automatically comes up for a vote on final disposition by the full Senate. For a cloture vote to pass it needs sixty votes. Schumer can now block it because he has forty one nays.

    But these Senators don’t have to stand there and talk for hours on end. It’s not actually a filibuster. What it means is simply that Schumer can prevent a cloture vote on the matter, Gorsuch’s confirmation. Which means it isn’t the only subject of consideration before the Senate. I.E. the Senate must conduct other business, and Schumer and his evil henchmen can prevent Gorsuch’s confirmation from coming up for final consideration indefinitely. Unless the GOP changes the rule. It’s nothing more than a rule.

It just got voted out of committee and onto the floor.
In Strangelove terms the bombers just took off.

It just got voted out of committee and onto the floor.
In Strangelove terms the bombers just took off.

Nuke ’em. Nuke ’em hard!

buckeyeminuteman | April 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Question for the legal beagles: If Gorsuch doesn’t get 60 votes, does McConnel get to claim the nuclear option and hold a vote again to at least get 51? Or is this a one vote thing?

    Good question – I would assume that he could since the requirement for the 60 votes is to end discussion and go for the vote.

    Couldn’t they do the Rule 19?? bit where each senator gets to talk twice over a legislative day and then they can call for the vote. They tested it recently.

    Milhouse in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | April 4, 2017 at 3:03 am

    The actual nomination vote has never needed more than 50. The vote that needs 60 isn’t on the nomination, it’s on cloture, i.e. whether to close debate on the nomination and vote on it, or keep debating.

    To even get to a nuclear option, the cloture vote first has to fail, with a vote between 50 and 60; the nuclear option consists of the majority saying they won’t accept the failure, because they believe the rules should change so that this kind of vote doesn’t need 60. So they vote on whether a cloture vote for this kind of motion should need 60 or 50, the majority votes that it should only need 50, and then proceeds to vote cloture again, this time it passes because the bar has been lowered, and then the actual nomination comes up, which has always needed only 50.

    If the original cloture vote succeeded, i.e. got 60 votes, then the nomination comes straight up and there’s no opportunity to change the rules. Of course the rules can be changed without a nuclear option, but only with 60 votes…

If the Senate gets rid of the 60 vote cloture rule, then I hope that they also review the Census process since that will be important in 2020 for redistricting.

It should be a census of citizens and not just bodies in a particular area. And it should be an actual count and no statistical extrapolation of data.

Or, if you count bodies, then only citizen info should be used to calculate the distribution of electoral college votes.

    Milhouse in reply to Liz. | April 4, 2017 at 3:06 am

    That’s not up to the senate, it would need a constitutional amendment. Which needs 2/3 of the senate, as well as 2/3 of the House and then both houses of 3/4 of the state legislatures. Not gonna happen.

Better to go nuke now, especially if rbg finally decides her health is more important than being a liberal.

    Notorious RBG is NEVER going to decide that her health is more important than being a liberal.


    She will die on the bench. Literally, I expect. One day, in Oral arguments, I expect she will literally keel over off her chair and that will be that. Either that, or one day her clerks will arrive in the morning, find her across her desk having noted onto an opinion for review “the Constitution prevents the Government from allowing this action within the federal enclave on the basis of aaargh!!”

inspectorudy | April 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

As many Senators have said, this will virtually turn the Senate into a smaller version of the House. There is no longer any chance that the two sides can work with each other for the welfare of the American people. It is party first, re-election second. We are way down on the list of give-a-sh1t. With that in mind, Trump had better get as much done as he can because if he is a one termer things are going to get ugly fast in DC.

blacksburger | April 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

“It should be a census of citizens and not just bodies in a particular area. And it should be an actual count and no statistical extrapolation of data.

Or, if you count bodies, then only citizen info should be used to calculate the distribution of electoral college votes.”

The Constitution says that electoral college votes are to be distributed by actual population count, not by the number of citizens.

    Barry in reply to blacksburger. | April 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    “… by actual population count, not by the number of citizens.”

    The case can be made that “population count” in the constitution is a count of citizens.

      Milhouse in reply to Barry. | April 4, 2017 at 3:20 am

      No, it cannot. You can just lie, but that’s not making a case. The constitution is crystal clear on this. The census must count every person, including babes in arms, aliens (whether legal or not), felons, even diplomats and invading foreign troops (if it were possible to hold a census at such a time). If the Personhood Amendment ever passes, then the census will have to include known fœtuses as well, and they will have to be reflected in the state’s representation.

Dejectedhead | April 3, 2017 at 6:32 pm

For a SCOTUS nomination, couldn’t the rule be reinvoked that a filibuster needs to be a spoken thing?

Then just force each Democrat to give a traditional filibuster until they run out of time.

Is that a viable option? (I’m just curious, I expect the nuclear option to drop considering the DNC grandstanding)

the nuke rule was PASSED by the Democrats and it was noted @ the time it applied to ALL nominations including SCotUS.

that said the ONLY question is are there 51 votes for Judge Gorsuch. the answer is Yes because RINO defections are balanced with Democrat Senators in Red States up 4 election have already said they will vote to confirm.

    Milhouse in reply to mathewsjw. | April 4, 2017 at 3:24 am

    and it was noted @ the time it applied to ALL nominations including SCotUS.

    No, it wasn’t. SCotUS nominations were explicitly excluded. Lying does not help our cause.

Call it what it is: the Reid Rule. Make them eat it. And now the way is cleared for Trump to nominate and get any good conservative judge to replace other judges, particularly Ginsberg, which (witch?) would be priceless.

The utter shortsightedness and stupidity of the Dems is on full display and defies explanation. I mean, really, was the Garland delay such a big deal since everyone, including Trump, probably believed that Hillary would win the election and the Garland nomination would proceed?