The Democrats in The Senate can "Filibuster" the nomination.
What does that mean?
A "Filibuster" is a procedure in The United States Senate (not The House) from 1837 to require more than 51 votes (a simple majority) to confirm a Presidential appointment or a piece of legislation. People used to stand up for many hours, like in the famous Capra movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", but nowadays it is just done by the introduction of a simple motion. Unless and until the Filibuster is ended, through a procedure called "Cloture", no vote can be held on the nomination or legislation.
How many votes does it take to end a Filibuster?
Can The Republicans end a Filibuster of Neil Gorsuch all by themselves?
No. They only have 52 members in The Senate and will need 8 of the 48 Democrats.
Will 8 Democrats vote to end the Filibuster in order to confirm Gorsuch?
Mixed opinions on this:
Those who say yes say so because:
1. Many Senate Democrats are running for re-election in states that voted for Trump and they don't want to appear "obstructionist"
2. Normally great deference is given to the nominations of American presidents
3. Donald Trump wants it
Those who say no say so because:
1. They believe this open Supreme Court was "stolen" from President Obama and his nominee Merrick Garland when Senator Mitch McConnell and The Republicans didn't hold a hearing or bring Garland's nomination up for a vote
2. Some believe that Donald Trump is, himself, not a fully legitimate president and want to wait until an investigation is completed into Trump's alleged involvement with Vladimir Putin and Russia regarding the hack of the 2016 Election
3. They believe that Neil Gorsuch, who joked about forming a club called "Fascism Forever" in high school, is a Right Wing extremist who is against women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, voting rights, environmental rights, labor rights, for "Citizens United" and a proponent for radical NRA positions.
What if Republicans "Nuke" the Filibuster?
This would represent an extremely severe change in American government, likely forever. Without the Filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, a President who has 50 or more Senators from his/her own party would be able to nominate virtually anyone, no matter how mainstream or acceptable to the majority of Americans.
Those who say the Republicans will "nuke" the Filibuster say so because:
1. Donald Trump has expressed his desire for Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed and to "nuke" the Filibuster if that is what it will take
2. Many Republicans are very excited about the idea of being able to do away with literally ANY Democratic opposition and run the Congress essentially all by themselves
3. Republicans want another pro-life, pro-NRA, pro-"Citizens United", anti-gay rights Justice who will also rule against environmental regulations, women's rights, civil rights, voting rights and labor rights and for a more limited role of government and more states rights in American life.
Those who say the Republicans will not "nuke" the Filibuster say so because:
1. The Democrats voted to NOT "nuke" the Filibuster for Supreme Court nominees or for legislation when they had 53 members in 2013. (They did "nuke" the Filibuster for other Presidential appointment and for lower court federal judges)
2. Many of the more senior Republican Senators (Majority Leader McConnell, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Orin Hatch and others) have been in "The Minority" and they know how it feels and have relied on the Filibuster to defeat nominees and bills that they considered to be too extreme and/or harmful to the country. They knew, for virtual certainty, that one day they will again be in "The Minority" and that they will hate being completely powerless to stop these things.
3. Some fear that "nuking" the last remaining check and balance on Donald Trump and Senate Republicans' power would be seen as ushering in "One Party Rule", "Authoritarianism" and even "Tyranny" into American government and that voters in their states in the 2018 Elections might respond unfavorably and that it may cause previously unengaged Millennials and others to come out and vote against them in Primaries and the general Midterm Election.
What Can YOU Do to Help or Stop Donald Trump's Nomination?
Senators are VERY sensitive to communications from THEIR OWN constituents because you get to vote for, or against, them.
Call or write or visit your United States Senators (you have 2 of them, see the list below) and tell them either:
"Please vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch", or
"Please vote to Filibuster and oppose Judge Gorsuch"
The Senate staff will tally the results and communicate this directly to The Senator.
And, if you have one or two Republican Senators you can also lobby them about "nuking" the Filibuster and tell them either:
"Please vote to "nuke" the Filibuster", or
"Please don't vote to "nuke" the Filibuster".
And, if you feel very strongly about your position, you can communicate that in a way that politicians will definitely understand, for example,
"If you _____ then I will NOT support you in your next election and will vigorously support your opponents in both the Primary and the General Election"
That will get their attention! But that is the point. They work for YOU!
Civics is important. Civics is how things get done. Stay tuned for more "Trump Civics 101" by Richard Greene.
Richard Greene is a former attorney, Fellow at The Constitutional Rights Foundation, Congressional Candidate, Host of "Hollywood CLOUT!" a daily radio show dedicated to Hollywood celebrities lobbying for causes and an author and Communication Strategist who has worked on 7 Presidential campaigns in 5 countries around the world.
LIST OF THE 100 UNITED STATE SENATORS with Phone Numbers
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa - R (202) 224-6665 Sullivan, Dan - R (202) 224-3004
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff - R (202) 224-4124 Shelby, Richard C. - R (202) 224-5744
ARKANSAS Boozman, John - R (202) 224-4843 Cotton, Tom - R (202) 224-2353
ARIZONA Flake, Jeff - R (202) 224-4521 McCain, John - R (202) 224-2235
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne - D (202) 224-3841 Harris, Kamala D. - D (202) 224-3553
COLORADO Bennet, Michael F. - D (202) 224-5852 Gardner, Cory - R (202) 224-5941
CONNECTICUT Blumenthal, Richard - D (202) 224-2823 Murphy, Christopher - D (202) 224-4041
DELAWARE Carper, Thomas R. - D (202) 224-2441 Coons, Christopher A. - D (202) 224-5042
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill - D (202) 224-5274 Rubio, Marco - R (202) 224-3041
GEORGIA Isakson, Johnny - R (202) 224-3643 Perdue, David - R (202) 224-3521
HAWAII Hirono, Mazie K. - D (202) 224-6361 Schatz, Brian - D (202) 224-3934
IOWA Ernst, Joni - R (202) 224-3254 Grassley, Chuck - R (202) 224-3744
IDAHO Crapo, Mike - R (202) 224-6142 Risch, James E. - R (202) 224-2752
ILLINOIS Duckworth, Tammy - D (202) 224-2854 Durbin, Richard J. - D (202) 224-2152
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe - D (202) 224-4814 Young, Todd - R (202) 224-5623
KANSAS Moran, Jerry - R (202) 224-6521 Roberts, Pat - R (202) 224-4774
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch - R (202) 224-2541 Paul, Rand - R (202) 224-4343
LOUISIANNA Cassidy, Bill - R (202) 224-5824 Kennedy, John - R (202) 224-4623
MASSACHUSETTS Markey, Edward J. - D (202) 224-2742 Warren, Elizabeth - D (202) 224-4543
MARYLAND Cardin, Benjamin L. - D (202) 224-4524 Van Hollen, Chris - D (202) 224-4654
MAINE Collins, Susan M. - R (202) 224-2523 King, Angus S., Jr. - I (caucuses with Democrats) (202) 224-5344
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary C. - D (202) 224-6221 Stabenow, Debbie - D (202) 224-4822
MINNESOTA Franken, Al - D (202) 224-5641 Klobuchar, Amy - D (202) 224-3244
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy - R (202) 224-5721 McCaskill, Claire - D (202) 224-6154
MISSISSIPPI Cochran, Thad - R (202) 224-5054 Wicker, Roger F. - R (202) 224-6253
MONTANA Daines, Steve - R (202) 224-2651 Tester, Jon - D (202) 224-2644
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard - R (202) 224-3154 Tillis, Thom - R (202) 224-6342
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi - D (202) 224-2043 Hoeven, John - R (202) 224-2551
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb - R (202) 224-6551 Sasse, Ben - R (202) 224-4224
NEW HAMPSHIRE Hassan, Margaret Wood - D (202) 224-3324 Shaheen, Jeanne - D (202) 224-2841
NEW JERSEY Booker, Cory A. - D (202) 224-3224 Menendez, Robert - D (202) 224-4744
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin - D (202) 224-5521 Udall, Tom - D (202) 224-6621
NEVADA Cortez Masto, Catherine - D (202) 224-3542 Heller, Dean - R (202) 224-6244
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten E. - D (202) 224-4451 Schumer, Charles E. - D (202) 224-6542
OHIO Brown, Sherrod - D (202) 224-2315 Portman, Rob - R (202) 224-3353
OKLAHOMA Inhofe, James M. - R (202) 224-4721 Lankford, James - R (202) 224-5754
OREGON Merkley, Jeff - D (202) 224-3753 Wyden, Ron - D (202) 224-5244
PENNSYLVANIA Casey, Robert P., Jr. - D (202) 224-6324 Toomey, Patrick J. - R (202) 224-4254
RHODE ISLAND Reed, Jack - D (202) 224-4642 Whitehouse, Sheldon - D (202) 224-2921
SOUTH CAROLINA Graham, Lindsey - R (202) 224-5972 Scott, Tim - R (202) 224-6121
SOUTH DAKOTA Rounds, Mike - R (202) 224-5842 Thune, John - R (202) 224-2321
TENNESSEE Alexander, Lamar - R (202) 224-4944 Corker, Bob - R (202) 224-3344
TEXAS Cornyn, John - R (202) 224-2934 Cruz, Ted - R (202) 224-5922
UTAH Hatch, Orrin G. - R (202) 224-5251 Lee, Mike - R (202) 224-5444
VIRGINIA Kaine, Tim - D (202) 224-4024 Warner, Mark R. - D (202) 224-2023
VERMONT Leahy, Patrick J. - D (202) 224-4242 Sanders, Bernard - I (caucuses with Democrats) (202) 224-5141
WASHINGTON Cantwell, Maria - D (202) 224-3441 Murray, Patty - D (202) 224-2621
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy - D (202) 224-5653 Johnson, Ron - R (202) 224-5323
WEST VIRGINIA Capito, Shelley Moore - R (202) 224-6472 Manchin, Joe, III - D (202) 224-3954
WYOMING Barrasso, John - R (202) 224-6441 Enzi, Michael B. - R (202) 224-3424