Senator ends 15-hour speech opposing Trump's court pick

Senator ends 15-hour speech opposing Trump's court pick

On Thursday, Democrats plan to produce the necessary votes to block President Donald Trump's nomination from clearing a procedural vote to end debate on the confirmation. But the trust required for an agreement on judicial nominees evaporated when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rallied Republicans a year ago to shut out Judge Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama named to fill the seat Gorsuch has now been tapped to take. Republicans refused to hold hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland, arguing that Obama should not have named a justice in an election year.

He was also an advocate for the use of the nuclear option by Democrats in 2013 when their party was in the majority and Republicans objected to some executive branch nominees and judicial nominations.

Senators from both parties are anxious about the coming blowup over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Democrats cite the treatment a year ago of Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, who was blocked by Republicans after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Still, at least some Democrats are sort of pretending that Gorsuch is such a special case that he is worth maximum opposition.

Merkley's extended speech isn't a filibuster and won't delay debate or votes, but it's part of Democrats' effort to bring attention to the nomination.

Mr. Merkley has little power to stop the ultimate outcome in the case of Judge Gorsuch, meaning his long floor speech is almost entirely symbolic. Some were already predicting that they would end up eliminating the 60-vote requirement for legislation, as well as nominations. It would lower the vote threshold from the current 60 to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats made clear they had no plans to do so, and blamed Republicans for pushing them to attempt a almost unheard of filibuster of a well-qualified Supreme Court pick.

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Coons, who led the talks from the Democratic side, said the talks failed because of a lack of trust.

- With Democrats poised to filibuster the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps a brush up on filibusters and "nuclear options" might be helpful.

So don't call what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is about to do "nuclear". While majority haven't gone so far as to say that they will oppose anyone Trump nominated (as, after all, Republicans did when this seat became vacant during Barack Obama's presidency), they have hinted that this is in fact what they are up to.

So far, no Senate Republican has said that he or she will oppose the rule change.

Merkley also decried the tactics senate Republicans used to block President Barack Obama from filling the seat vacated when former Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly previous year.

"I worked very hard over the weekend, as did several Democrats and several Republicans, but we were not able to reach an agreement", Collins added, estimating that about 10 lawmakers were involved.

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