13:58, April 03 356 0 abajournal.com

2017-04-03 13:58:06
Senate Judiciary Committee considers Gorsuch nomination; Democrats have enough votes for filibuster

Updated: The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on whether to advance the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Republican-dominated committee was expected to recommend confirmation, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), USA Today and the Washington Post.

Democrats have secured enough votes to filibuster the nomination, which could lead Republicans to change the rules so there is no need to get 60 votes to end the debate, the Washington Post reports. The count became clear as Democrats announced their decisions at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, opened the hearing by calling Gorsuch “a mainstream judge” who is “eminently qualified.”

“This nominee that we’re voting on today is a judge’s judge,” Grassley said. “He’s a picture of the kind of justice we should have on the Supreme Court.”

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spoke, she indicated that she would not support the confirmation. She pointed to Republicans’ refusal to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. “This nomination is not the usual nomination,” she said.

Another Democrat who vowed to vote no was Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, report USA Today, the Hill, the Washington Post and the Associated Press. “I will not, I cannot support advancing this nomination,” he said.

Leahy said Gorsuch had given evasive answers during the confirmation hearings, including on whether the right to abortion was settled law. “Unless we were talking about fishing or basketball, Judge Gorsuch stonewalled,” Leahy said.

Updated at 12:34 p.m. to indicate Democrats have enough votes for a filibuster.