In the past week or so, nine Senate Democrats have stated that Judge Neil Gorsuch deserves an up-or-down vote in the Senate — implying that they would not vote to support a filibuster to block his nomination.
1. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware: “I’m not going to do to President Trump’s nominee what the Republicans in the Senate did to President Obama’s. I will push for a hearing and I will push for a vote.” Quoted by CNN, January 30.
2. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut: “I will support having a hearing and a vote because I think the president’s nominee deserves that consideration.” He said this on MSNBC’s “Live” January 31.
3. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia: “I’m not going to filibuster anybody.” Quoted by the Weekly Standard, January 31.
4. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois: “I will meet with Judge Gorsuch and support a hearing and a vote for him.” Quoted in The State Journal-Register, January 31.
5. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota: “Asked if the nominee should also get a straight up-or-down vote rather than be blocked by a filibuster, she replied: ‘Absolutely.’” Quoted by Politico, January 31.
6. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri: “We should have a full confirmation hearing process and a vote on any nominee for the Supreme Court.” She wrote this on Twitter, January 31.
7. Senator Jon Tester of Montana: “There’s no doubt what they did [on Garland] was wrong and unconstitutional. In the end, I don’t think we should play their game. Have a hearing and vote.” Quoted in Politico, January 31.
8. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana: “As I have said part of our job as Senators includes considering, debating, and voting on judicial nominations, including the Supreme Court. I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Neil Gorsuch.” Quoted by the Associated Press, February 2.
The latest and perhaps most significant addition came yesterday on the Senate floor, when Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire declared, “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’ve talked to agrees he should get a hearing and an up-or-down vote.”
Shaheen makes nine. There are 48 Democratic senators (or Democrats and independents who align with the Democrats). If nine oppose a filibuster, there will be only 39 senators in support, and the filibuster effort will fail.
Of course, any one of these senators could pull a Cory Booker and suddenly forget all past statements on a given issue or nominee and completely reverse himself in an effort to win over the support of the Democratic party’s furious grassroots.