Democrats have enough votes to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination - a move that happens when the Senate can not scrounge together 60 votes to end debate on a nominee and proceed to an up-or-down vote.
But McConnell intends to act unilaterally with the rest of his 52-member GOP conference and change the rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold and require just a simple majority on Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees. Rather, they're only using language saying they'll confirm Gorsuch, one way or the other, and blaming Democrats for putting them in the situation.
"Every time in the history of this country that a Supreme Court nominee has failed to earn the necessary votes to pass the Senate, the answer has been to change the nominee not the rules", Schumer said. However, the nuclear option has not been used for Supreme Court nominees.
Lawmakers from both parties have observed that the nuclear option will lead to fewer consensus Supreme Court nominees and more fringe justices. Now, the tables are turned and Democrats have sufficient votes to block Gorsuch. The vote to end an all-but-certain filibuster is due Thursday, with a confirmation vote set for Friday, after which Congress heads home for a two-week recess. Many Democrats are still seething over Republicans' refusal previous year to even vote on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court.
"It's unacceptable as we are accepting this nomination at this moment as there is a cloud over the presidency because of the conduct during the campaign", Merkley said.
Senate rules then allow for up to 30 hours of "post-cloture" debate time, which Democrats are expected to use. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it will remain in place for legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
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Democrats in 2013 changed Senate rules to bar filibusters for executive branch nominees and federal judges aside from Supreme Court justices.
Merkley blasted his Republican colleagues for refusing to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland by former President Barack Obama.
Democrats were "hurtling toward the abyss", he said, "and trying to take the Senate with them".
Gorsuch's confirmation would also serve as vindication for McConnell's strategy of refusing to fill Scalia's seat previous year, instead leaving it open for the next president, even though few imagined then that that person would be Trump.
Walker tweeted on Tuesday that Baldwin "broke her word to Wisconsinites to give Judge Gorsuch a fair shot".
We also take Donnelly at his word that after meeting with Gorsuch, conducting a review of his record, and following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he believes "he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers".
Senate Democrats secured the votes Monday to block President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, a short-lived victory as Republicans vowed to change the rules to put Neil Gorsuch on the high court and score a much-needed win for their party.