Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand conceded that Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, will likely be confirmed by the Senate.
Gillibrand told NY1 that Senate Republicans can easily overcome any procedural roadblocks Democrats deploy. For example, a Democratic filibuster could be broken in short order by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, should he choose to abolish the 60-vote threshold currently required to end debate on Supreme Court nominees. As Republicans hold a majority in the chamber, Gorsuch would almost certainly be confirmed in the ensuing floor vote.
“You’re saying Gorsuch will be confirmed either way?” NY1’s Bobby Cuza asked.
“Ultimately yeah, I believe he will be,” Gillibrand admitted.
Her remarks are something of a break with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York alongside Gillibrand. Schumer has vowed to marshal an aggressive resistance to Trump’s nominee.
“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in early January.
“And so you will do your best to hold the seat open?” Maddow asked.
“Absolutely,” he said.
A handful of Senate Democrats, including Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren, vowed to block the nomination just minutes after Gorsuch’s name was announced at the White House. However, almost a dozen Democratic senators have signaled support for holding a floor vote on Gorsuch’s nomination, ensuring the filibuster effort will fail absent new developments.
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