A Senate showdown is set for Thursday as Republicans prepare to go nuclear in their push to confirm President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court as Democrats escalate their attacks on his selection.
Democrats have portrayed Judge Neil Gorsuch as an ally of the powerful and an enemy of the weak ahead of Thursday’s key votes. Republicans are accusing Democrats of trying to block Gorsuch out of frustration over Trump’s election victory.
“Democrats would filibuster Ruth Bader Ginsburg if President Donald Trump nominated her,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., naming one of the more liberal sitting justices. “There is simply no principled reason to oppose this exceptional, exceptional Supreme Court nominee.”
The confrontation will play out as Democrats and independents try to block Gorsuch by denying Republicans the 60 votes needed to proceed to a final vote.
Republicans intend to respond by unilaterally changing Senate precedent to remove the 60-vote requirement for Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees, reducing it to a simple majority. The maneuver is considered an extreme parliamentary move.
All 52 GOP senators are expected to vote to end the filibuster. Four Democratic senators will likely join them, which means Republicans are four votes shy of confirming Gorsuch outright.