Bitter accusations ahead of Senate Supreme Court showdown


The Senate then voted to change Senate precedent on voting on Supreme Court cloture votes from the 60-vote threshold to a simple majority of 51 votes. Before a final vote on the nomination can occur, the Senate will first have to agree to a procedural motion to close debate.

The 52-48 party-line vote called for by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday will let the Senate confirm Neil Gorsuch on Friday to take a court seat that Republicans refused to let President Barack Obama fill during his past year in office. But last Friday, McCaskill, a vulnerable Democrat up for reelection next year in a state Trump won by double digits, announced she would join her Democratic colleagues in filibustering Gorsuch.

Senate Republicans failed Thursday to reach the votes needed to end debate on Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination over a Democratic filibuster, setting up an expected move to take the "nuclear option".

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer warned Republicans about changing the rules so that a simple majority is required.

He added, however, that Republicans were frustrated by Senate Democrats using the 30 hour rule even "when the outcome is understood", arguing that Democrats have known whether certain nominees would be confirmed "since January 20, and it hasn't been used to speed things up".

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Republicans in the U.S. Senate successfully rewrote the rules on Thursday, with a 52-48 party-line vote triggering the so-called "nuclear option" that lowers the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.

Senate confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, would restore the nine-seat court's 5-4 conservative majority, enable Trump to leave a lasting imprint on America's highest judicial body and fulfill a top campaign promise by the Republican president.

"So let me say this to my Democratic colleagues: If you truly can not support the nomination of this eminently qualified nominee, then at least allow the bipartisan majority of the Senate that supports Gorsuch to take an up-or-down vote", Sen.

McConnell has vowed that Gorsuch will be confirmed on Friday, before the Senate leaves for a two-week recess. But this major change to Senate procedure doesn't look like it will be a major political factor in 2018.

Today on the Senate floor, Sen.

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"We're talking about a really high-quality person to be a justice on the Supreme Court who was being mistreated by misuse of the rules as far as I was concerned", Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said after the rule change. The Democrats pushed through a revision to confirm all executive branch nominees and lower-court picks with a simple majority vote. It is a common procedural move created to end debate or a filibuster and move an issue to a vote. Led by Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, GOP senators refused to even hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, Obama's eminently qualified nominee, in hopes that a Republican would be elected president in November and get the appointment. They're giving who is essentially a Republican political operative, an extremist one at that, a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land for a president who is polling at 34 percent and is under investigation by the FBI for potential treason.

Senate Democrats have blocked President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

Beyond the issue of the base, some progressives see more potential upsides in triggering the nuclear option. McConnell asked the Senate for a re-vote.

The Republican-backed rule change maintains the ability to filibuster legislation.

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