Schumer and the filibuster bomb

GorsuchYBook
1988 Columbia University yearbook entry for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

The Senate will vote on Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch sometime in early April and last week Democratic Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer uttered the “f” word…filibuster.

Senator Schumer urged all Democrats to take a stand against Donald Trump’s nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and vote ‘no’. He’s the Heritage Foundation’s certified 100% approved conservative nominee (age 49 yrs), up for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. He would be a fine successor to Scalia,” they say.

Sixty votes are required to bring the vote for Gorsuch out of committee and to the floor, which means Republicans will need eight Democratic votes to join their 52.  If Democrats can stay together it will prevent the vote from getting to the floor. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened  and has the Republican votes  to “go nuclear” and change Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster, thus working around Democrats filibuster block. That is quite a move for McConnell, who successfully stonewalled President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Democratic Minority Leader Schumer argues: “If the nominee can’t get 60 votes, you don’t change the rules, you change the candidate.”

The Hill.com’s partial list shows votes for 23 of the Democratic Senators (as of March 25th) and includes their brief explanations for their choices. Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse explained his vote ‘no’ was because: he was not convinced that Gorsuch wouldn’t “pick up where Justice Scalia and his troop left off,” by issuing rulings — such as on campaign finance — that benefit Republicans. There are  for now at least no Democratic ‘Yes’ votes, 13 ‘No’ votes and 11 undecided votes on whether to confirm Gorsuch.yesnoundecidedSenator Sanders is listed as a ‘no’ vote for confirming. Bernie is an Independent (as we all know) but caucuses with Democrats so he is on the list. And as of Monday the 27th reports are that Senator Leahy will also vote ‘no’  to confirm: ” Philosophically, I’ve seen nothing that will bring me to vote for Gorsuch.” He did ad this: “I am not inclined to filibuster, even though I’m not inclined to vote for him.”

A handful of Democratic Senators from states that favored Trump last November are worried about their next election and are considered the weak link in Schumer’s vote strategy.

Vermont, not surprisingly, seems kinda blue on this vote. So, maybe the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee could,  you know, offer those red-state Dems a little help come the next election if they agree to vote with their party?

6 thoughts on “Schumer and the filibuster bomb

  1. Didn’t we lose this fight on November 8, 2016? Democrats have strong tools to use (even now) to prevent 24 million people being thrown off health insurance, address the harsh treatment of the undocumented, and prevent the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the dismantling of federal programs that support everyday people. But, we’ve only got a knife to bring to this gunfight over Gorsuch. Even if we filibuster, I have no doubt that the man who flaunted the Constitution to deny a legitimate Obama nominee a vote, would eliminate the filibuster without breaking a sweat. Yes, a filibuster now will get attention and make the base feel good, but we only get to do it once. Is this the best time? I hope we keep our powder dry until we get to the Republican nominee who will tip the balance of power on the court. At that point it will be easier to see the immediate threat to voting rights, abortion rights, environmental protection, executive overreach, campaign finance, etc. At that point people can take to the streets and exert pressure. That case will be easier to make, clearer to understand, and will resonate more than with voters.

  2. I’m not having a particularly hard time seeing an immediate threat to voting rights,abortion rights environmental protection etc. and dangerous executive overreach right now.

      1. The streets were full of people a month or so ago begging Democrats for some kind of resistance .
        But yeah,someday the Democrats are really gonna…oh boy, payback times comin- and then are are they ever gonna show ’em.So hang on to the SCOTUS nominee filibuster option for later.Oh you just wait,when that time comes,are they ever gonna show ’em…big time. And then at just the right moment of our choosing Mitch McConnell can take it away. And,boy are they ever gonna show ’em.

      2. I was just reminded that the day Trump announced Gorsuch as nominee Jan 31st , three thousand people turned out to protest on Chuck Schumer’s door step in NYC on cold winter night.Some of chants and signs: “Shut it down,shut it down” and “What the F&*K Chuck” . Gotta love New York.

        1. You may be right. My strategy is geared to preserving the filibuster so we can fight another day when the nominee will be even worse than Gorsuch and will tip the balance of the court. That thinking is small and the times demand big. So, today I’m sending $27 to Claire McCaskill and the following letter to Senator Leahy: “I share your wish to preserve the tradition of the filibuster and your opinion that the next Trump nominee is the place to stage a fight. However, if we’ve learned anything in the last year it’s that these times require that we live our values and defend our institutions. Every institution is under attack; education, a free press, democratic processes, healthy families, and the courts. This is your time and your place to defend the Supreme Court as an institution from a hostile takeover by the Republicans. Their unprecedented refusal to fulfill their constitutional role of advise and consent regarding Obama’s legitimate and moderate nominee cannot be allowed to stand without consequence. As Yale historian, Timothy Snyder, said recently,…(our institutions) “go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.”

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