King is 44th senator to oppose Gorsuch
Jeff Merkley began speaking on the Senate floor shortly before 7 p.m. on Tuesday in protest of Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court and plans to speak against him as long as he is physically able, according to a spokeswoman. But the trust required for an agreement on judicial nominees evaporated when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rallied Republicans previous year to shut out Judge Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama named to fill the seat Gorsuch has now been tapped to take.
"The fact is when we saw Republicans refuse to act on Merrick Garland past year, that was politics". Jon Tester have announced they will not support Gorsuch.
A full vote on Gorsuch is expected Friday - assuming Republicans can either convince Democrats to vote to proceed on Gorsuch or invoke the nuclear option.
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.
Democrats blamed Republicans for pushing them to attempt a almost unheard of filibuster of a qualified Supreme Court pick.
Regardless of how the Senate votes this week, it is certain that the fight over Gorsuch, a moderate conservative, will have legal implications for how justices are confirmed in the future.
Yet, Gorsuch's nomination has come against stiff opposition by Senate Democrats. US Senate Republicans and Democrats clashed bitterly over President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, with no signs that a potentially damaging showdown tomorrow will be averted. They are viewed as an important procedural check on the power of the party in control, which can end a fillibuster only if it can muster 60 votes.
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The Democrats have once again gone into a room and convinced themselves to do something that's never been done before in the 230 year history of the Senate and that is to require more than 51 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee.
"I cannot believe he can stand here on the floor of the United States Senate and with a straight face say that Democrats are launching the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said after McConnell spoke.
Senate rules then allow for up to 30 hours of "post-cloture" debate time, which Democrats are expected to use. When the Democrats were in the majority, they removed the 60-vote threshold for nominees to federal benches lower in the judicial system than the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
When Trump won the presidential election in November, the Garland nomination was dead, infuriating Democrats.
"I encourage all of my colleagues to give him fair consideration and to advance his nomination to an up-or-down vote", he said Monday night.
McConnell told reporters he has the votes to change the rules. "In this world we are in, what I care most about is a judge who's going to be independent from the executive and call it like he sees it".
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