'One Way or Another': Trump, GOP Threaten 'Nuclear Option' over Gorsuch
President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Senate Republicans to “go nuclear” and take away Democrats’ ability to block his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, as members of his party suggest that is the very path they’re willing to take.
That rule change, as The Hill explains, “would allow [Gorsuch’s] nomination to move forward with a 51-vote majority, rather than the 60 needed if Gorsuch is filibustered.” Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. CNN notes that “Republicans and Democrats have long resisted [invoking the rule change] as it would change the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees in the future as well.”
Speaking at the White House, Trump said that in the face of congressional gridlock over the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) should impose it anyway, saying, “I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear because that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. So I would say […] go for it.”
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that his party is prepared to filibuster, saying in a statement Tuesday that “Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court.”
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According to McConnell, however, “regardless of all this procedural talk about filibusters, no filibusters, we’re going to get this judge confirmed,”
Reporting from Capitol Hill on Wednesday, MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt featured interviews with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both of whom employed the same phrase when they said that “one way or another” Gorsuch would be confirmed.
Though neither would answer specific questions about what that meant in terms of procedure, Hunt said it was “clear” to her that the message has been spread among Republicans that the “nuclear option” was indeed on the table.
And Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) told MSNBC‘s Stephanie Ruhle that Republicans “simply may have to” go nuclear.
Gorsuch would fill the seat left vacant for nearly a year since the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, as Republicans blocked the nomination of former President Barack Obama’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. According to SCOTUSblog, “some of the parallels [between Scalia and Gorsuch] can be downright eerie.”
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron on Tuesday called Gorsuch “a disastrous choice for the U.S. Supreme Court—especially now, given the president’s repeated demonstrations of contempt for our democratic institutions. This shows us how vital the federal courts are as a check against unconstitutional and erratic acts by the other branches.”