by WorldTribune Staff, February 23, 2017
The heavily wounded Democratic Party does not have the numbers in the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a New York senator said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand conceded that Judge Neil Gorsuch is a lock to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gillibrand told NY1 that Senate Republicans can easily overcome any procedural moves Democrats attempt. A Democratic filibuster could be easily broken by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, should he choose to abolish the 60-vote threshold currently required to end debate on Supreme Court nominees.
As Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, Gorsuch would almost certainly be confirmed in the ensuing floor vote, Gillibrand said.
“You’re saying Gorsuch will be confirmed either way?” NY1’s Bobby Cuza asked.
“Ultimately yeah, I believe he will be,” Gillibrand responded.
Gillibrand’s remarks broke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who last month vowed an aggressive resistance to Trump’s nominee.
“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“And so you will do your best to hold the seat open?” Maddow asked.
“Absolutely,” Schumer said.
A handful of Senate Democrats, including Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren, vowed to block the nomination just minutes after Gorsuch’s name was announced at the White House. However, almost a dozen Democratic senators have signaled support for holding a floor vote on Gorsuch’s nomination, ensuring the filibuster effort will fail absent new developments.