McConnell starts clock on Neil Gorsuch nuclear showdown

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's motion would lead to a vote, due on Thursday, to try to end the filibuster against Gorsuch.

The Supreme Court filibuster is about to die, and people who should care most about it - United States senators, who gain individual influence within the Senate from rules that prevent simple majority rule - evidently do not. And, as Ari Berman writes, there are a number of reasons-from the treatment of Merrick Garland to Gorsuch's own record-to continue to fight this nomination.

Chuck Grassley speaks alongside Mitch McConnell (right) about the vote for Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 4, 2017. More immediately, Gorsuch's confirmation to fill the vacancy on the court created by Scalia's death would restore the conservative voting majority that existed before Scalia's death and could persist or grow for years to come.

Shaheen and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan are among 41 Senate Democrats who plan to vote no on Gorsuch, reaching the threshold needed for a filibuster. Many Democrats are still seething over Republicans' refusal a year ago to even vote on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court.

Portman says he hopes Gorsuch gets confirmed without Senate having to resort to the "nuclear" option. Some were already predicting that they would end up eliminating the 60-vote requirement for legislation, as well as nominations.

Oregon's junior Senator filibustered Supreme Court nominee Neal Gorsuch for 15 hours on the Senate floor before finally yielding just after 10 a.m.

As Merkley spoke, Senate Majority Leader Sen.

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Democrats claim the Republicans' treatment of Garland was worse than anything they ever did or are doing, and with Trump in the White House they are under intense pressure from liberal voters to oppose the president on every front.

Merkley repeatedly railed against his Republican colleagues for blocking President Obama's nominee previous year, Merrick Garland, not even giving him a hearing.

Nonetheless, McCain was prepared to vote with McConnell on the rules change, saying he felt he had no choice.

Senate Republicans are poised to hold a simple majority vote to strip the minority party of the power to filibuster Supreme Court nominees - a rarely used and highly controversial tactic that would allow them to confirm Gorsuch without help from Democrats.

They have chose to filibuster his confirmation vote, the first time in history a Supreme Court nominee has faced that particular hurdle. Asked if he has the votes to do that, given misgivings voiced by many Republicans, McConnell answered simply "yes".

Still, McConnell's relative nonchalance about changing the rules contrasts with the comments of some of his Republican colleagues, who have said they have grave concerns. Sen.

Senate Democrats elevated their attacks against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Wednesday, portraying him as an ally of the powerful and an enemy of the weak as an explosive showdown loomed on the Senate floor.

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