Just as the United States Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Gorsuch’s nomination, Democrats reached the 40-vote threshold to filibuster a vote by the full Senate.
This morning Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, Dianne Feinstein of California, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont all said they could not support Gorsuch, meaning the Democrat Party has 41 Senators vowing to block his nomination to the Supreme Court.
“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,” Coons said at the Senate judiciary committee hearing on Gorsuch’s nomination, becoming the 41st senator to say he will take part in the filibuster.
Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the committee’s chairman, accused Democrats of searching in vain for credible reasons to vote against Judge Gorsuch.
“This nominee that we’re voting on today is a judge’s judge,” he said. “He’s a picture of the kind of justice we should have on the Supreme Court.”
Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, needed a total of 60 votes to end the filibuster. As of Monday morning, they had 55 votes, including three Democrats who are voting with them.
Three senators — two Democrats and one independent — remain undecided. However, even if those three senators were to side with Republicans, it wouldn’t be enough to avoid the filibuster.
The controversial move, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would initiate, would alter Senate rules to lower the threshold for ending a filibuster of Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51. The action would mean that a simple majority could then force Gorsuch’s confirmation.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary said the president was satisfied if Republicans were required to use the nuclear option but accused the Democrats of “entering new territory”.