On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9, along party lines, to recommend the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the same day, Senate Democrats said they had enough votes to block the nomination. Though a partisan filibuster on a Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented, Democrats are angry that Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was not considered by the Republican-controlled Senate. However, the U.S. Constitution gives the Senate full power over the confirmation process; had Democrats won the Senate in the midterm elections, or won the 2016 presidential election, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Monday’s actions set up a climactic confrontation for Thursday, when Gorsuch’s nomination is scheduled to be voted upon in the full Senate. If Democrats filibuster, Republicans have implied they would invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” changing Senate rules to require only a simple majority to break it (as Democrats did to get lower court nominees confirmed). “Let me assure you that Judge Gorsuch is going to be on the Supreme Court by midnight Friday night,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.