Is it possible that the Senate will have 60 votes for Supreme Count nominee, Neil Gorsuch, and avoid either a Democratic filibuster or the Republicans “going nuclear” with a rule change? For this to happen, 8 Democratic senators would have to break party lines and vote “yes” on Gorsuch.
On Thursday, Senators Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp became the first two Democrats to support the Gorsuch confirmation.
Both Manchin, from West Virginia, and Heitkamp, from North Dakota, are up for reelection next year and their states voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election. In a statement in which Manchin called Neil Gorsuch “an honest and thoughtful man,” he also said: “I hold no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court justice.”
Heitkamp is pleased with Gorsuch’s experience with tribal law and public lands issues as well as his endorsements from Native American organizations. She said in her statement, “He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law.” In that same statement, Heitkamp expressed how disturbed she was that Republicans blocked President Barak Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. But she explained her position on Gorsuch by stating,” I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. There isn’t a perfect judge. Regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics.”
If the numbers are correct, 35 of the 48 Democratic Senators will vote against Neil Gorsuch. With the two that have shown support, that leaves 11 votes up for grabs, and the Republicans need 8 of them. Chris Coons (D) from Delaware is one of those senators that is seeking to avoid the filibuster and nuclear options. “I’m open to anyone who’s got a reasonable suggestion for how we might slow what seems to be an inexorable path towards changing the rules,” Coons said in a statement on Thursday. The Judiciary Committee is set to vote on sending the nomination to the Senate floor on April 3, and Republican leaders hope to confirm Gorsuch on April 7.
The one question that remains is whether six more Democrats will break with the leaders of their party and vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch. Do you think this will happen?