WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday Democrats would filibuster the confirmation vote of Supreme Court Justice nominee judge Neil Gorsuch, but Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley cautioned Democrats do so at their own political peril.
Republicans need at least eight Democrats to cross the aisle to move along Gorsuch’s confirmation to a final vote. Without 60 senators, a final confirmation vote cannot happen.
Grassley pointed to the 10 Democrats from states where President Donald Trump won, and suggested that their constituents would not appreciate their senators partaking in such a filibuster.
“I think you got to consider that there’s 48 Democrats and 10 of them are from red states that were elected where Trump carried that it seems to me that when they go home and their constituents know how good this guy is, it’s going to be a tough time for them to vote against him,” Grassley told The Daily Caller Thursday.
According to ABC News exit polls, nationally, 21 percent of voters said that appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court were “the most important factor” in the ballot that they cast on election day. These voters, according to ABC News, overwhelmingly favored Trump, 57 to 40 percent.
CNN exit polls also found similar results.
Additionally, The Washington Post reports conservative groups have overwhelmingly outspent liberal organization on television ads in support of Gorsuch. Most of the on air ads are targeted at seven Democratic senators in Trump won states–an attempt to rally and motivate a base that will pressure Democratic senators to reject a filibuster or face an ouster in 2018.
When asked by TheDC if he expects ad campaigns related to their support of the filibuster against Gorsuch to air, Grassley responded, “Oh I think there is. I haven’t checked, but if you’d asked me this question a month ago, I said there’s going to be and I assume that there is.”
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said Republicans could very well decide to change the rules so only a simple majority would be necessary to move along to a final vote as opposed to 60 votes.
“It depends on what [Schumer] does if he if going to play the obstructionist game. It may be all we have left. We may have to exercise it. I don’t particularly want to, because I think it’s a bad– It’s not a good precedent, but they’ve already said it, so– I mean they have to. I hope not. I hope there’s use of common sense here,” Hatch told TheDC.
Although Republicans have not wanted to change the filibuster rules of Supreme Court nominees in the past, ever since the Democratic leadership changed the filibuster rules for lower level nominees when they held the majority last, Republicans feel differently.
South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, an original member of the bipartisan “gang of 14” senators who created a deal to maintain the filibuster during the George W. Bush era, hinted he would support the nuclear option if the Democrats filibustered Gorsuch.
“Whatever it takes to get him on the court, I will do,” the South Carolina Republican told “The Mike Gallagher Show” when asked about the nuclear option.
Graham went on to say, “If my Democratic colleagues choose to filibuster this guy, then they will be telling me that they don’t accept the election results — 306 electoral votes — that they’re trying to delegitimize President Trump, and that’s not right and we would have to change the rules to have the Supreme Court like everybody else.”
He added, “I hope that we can get 60 votes and not change 200 plus years of history… But I will do whatever’s necessary, but I’ve been a pretty balanced guy and enough is enough.”
However, the remaining gang of 14 members still in the Senate—Maine Republican Susan Collins and Arizona Republican John Mccain — show no desire to change the rules if need be.
Additionally, South Dakota Sen. John Thune also expressed doubt about changing the rules. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot lose three Republicans without gaining three Democrats if he wants to change the rules of the filibuster.