Yesterday Senator Jean Shahanenn made a decision that could have major implications going forward. She announced she would not filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. As Charles CW Cooke points out this is a big deal:
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.
One of the big takeaways from this, that always seems to get lost in filibuster discussions, you don’t need 60 yes votes to win. You just need to make sure there are not 40 votes against. With the Democrats at just 39, all they can do is sit on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs. Cooke does continue his analysis pointing out that nothing is binding these Senators to these statements. They could very easy 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.”
A lot can happen in the next few months especially with Donald Trump as President. However, things are moving forward on Gorsuch and it does seem to be down the right path, for now.