Bench Memos

Senator Shaheen: No Filibuster of Gorsuch

On the Senate floor yesterday evening, Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire strongly declared that neither she nor any of her fellow Democrats she’s “talked to” have any intention of filibustering the Gorsuch nomination. Here’s the Congressional Record transcript of her remarks (page S845):

I wanted to respond to my colleague from South Dakota because I think for Senator Thune to come to the floor and castigate Democrats for holding up Judge Gorsuch, who has just been nominated, and for suggesting we are going to filibuster, the fact is, throughout most of last year we saw the Republican majority in this body hold up the nominee of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee.

For the first time in history [sic — not true], this body refused to hold a hearing on a nominee for the Supreme Court, refused to give an up-or-down vote, and to suggest that we should not get a fair hearing on the nominee to the Supreme Court — Judge Gorsuch — I think is just not [something that’s]* going to be good for the American people.

Unlike the Republican majority, I haven’t heard any Democrats saying we don’t think that Judge Gorsuch should get a hearing or that he should get an up-or-down vote. Everybody I have talked to agrees he should get a hearing and an up-or-down vote. [Emphasis added.]

And here’s a video that captures the last part:

This would seem to be “game over” for any Democratic filibuster effort.

I will note that Shaheen’s communications director promptly insisted on Twitter that Shaheen didn’t mean what she said and that by “up-or-down vote” she “meant a cloture vote”! So it’s possible that Shaheen will try to backtrack.

* As the video shows, the transcript is mistaken when it says “someone who is” (which makes no sense).