The US Senate lurched toward another milestone in partisan warfare Monday as Republicans appeared increasingly likely to wipe away decades-old filibuster rules in order to secure confirmation of President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch. That's known as a "cloture vote" and with at least 41 Democrats voting no, the motion to proceed to a final vote will fail.
But under what ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dubbed "the nuclear option" just a few years ago, a simple majority of 51 votes would stop a filibuster. But that Democratic success was virtually certain to be a short-lived political victory, as Republicans vowed to change Senate rules to put Gorsuch on the court and score a much-needed win for their party.
It was half past noon Monday when Chuck Grassley, the genial chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked for a show of hands: Did senators debating the Neil Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court want to break for lunch? The "nuclear option" would lower the bar from 60 senators needed to break a filibuster to 51, and Republicans now control the chamber with a 52-48 margin.
"We will not have a successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, because if we have to we will change the rules, and it looks like we are going to have to", Graham said.
Trump was able to make the nomination because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in an unprecedented move, refused to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the seat.
"What we've done over our history is to have a 60-vote threshold that is sacred in ensuring a bipartisan Supreme Court nominee". That circumstance became clear for Democrats this year when they were largely unable to block any of Trump's cabinet appointments.
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This June, Verizon is scheduled to close on its purchase of Yahoo, valued at $4.48 billion excluding Yahoo's cash. Perez tweeted this response: "Tribune Publishing: 'We will now be known as Tronc.' Verizon: 'Hold my beer'".
Most Americans who watched Judge Gorsuch during his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee saw him as I did - measured, thoughtful, and dedicated to upholding the law. On the floor, Democrats say they'll launch a partisan filibuster against him - something Republicans have never done.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved Gorsuch's nomination on an 11-9 vote and the full Senate is expected to vote later this week. Schumer was in the Senate at the time.
There are four Democrats who have said they will buck their party and vote for cloture: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Michael Bennet of Colorado. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, would say when asked if she would vote for the change in rules. "But the traditions and principles that have defined the Senate are crumbling, and we are poised to hasten that destruction this week", Coons said. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who is among those trying to convince colleagues to step back from the brink of the so-called nuclear option that would upend Senate rules. Senate Democrats' move backfired spectacularly, warning Republicans against seriously considering replicating the move for Gorsuch's Supreme Court bid.
With the failure of Republican healthcare legislation in Congress and with courts blocking the president's ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, winning confirmation for Gorsuch has taken on even more importance for Trump. Republicans hold 52 seats, and they are expected to pull in a handful of Democrats on the Gorsuch vote. But the next vacancy could change the balance on the court.
"We were right in the middle of a presidential election year". President Donald Trump's decision to release a list of judges he might appoint if he was elected president was the single most effective tool he deployed for rallying skeptical conservatives behind him during the campaign. They did so after Republicans regularly filibustered Obama appeals court nominees.