Chuck Schumer has, at least for now, has thrown down the gauntlet on the Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court. More of this, please.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted on Wednesday that Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, will need 60 votes to clear the upper chamber.
“We Democrats will insist on a rigorous but fair process. There will be 60 votes for confirmation,” he said from the Senate floor. “There will be 60 votes for confirmation.”
Trump’s nomination of the well-respected conservative jurist is kicking off a high-stakes battle in the Senate. Five progressive lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), have already come out in opposition to Trump’s nominee.
Schumer said requiring 60 votes for confirmation of Gorsuch is “the right thing to do.”
Though Merkley has said he will filibuster Trump’s pick, Schumer is publicly staying on the fence and hasn’t explicitly backed a filibuster.
But Schumer is defending his party’s push for Gorsuch to get 60 votes, noting that previous Supreme Court nominees have been able to win bipartisan support.
“It was a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominations,” he said. “In my mind 60 votes is the appropriate way to go whether there is a Democratic president or a Republican president, a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.”
Both of Obama’s nominees, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, got bipartisan support, but were not filibustered by Republicans, who were then in the minority, or required to overcome a 60-threshold procedural vote.
The back-and-forth over Trump’s nominee comes as the president endorsed going “nuclear” and lowering the requirement to a simple majority if Democrats block his nominee.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly indicated that he does not want to take what would be a historic step and change Senate rules.
Schumer appeared to push against Trump on Wednesday, arguing that if Gorsuch can’t get 60 votes, then the “problem” is with the president’s pick.
“Those who say at the end of this process there are only two possible results, that the Senate will confirm this nominee or Republicans will use the nuclear options to change the rules of the Senate are dead wrong. That is a false choice,” he said.
He added that, in that case, “the answer should not be to change the rules of the Senate, but to change the nominee to a mainstream candidate.”