Will the Republicans go nuclear to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed? The Trump administration seems to think so. They also believe doing so will benefit them over time, particularly if any other Supreme Court slots open up.
Trump’s inner circle on the court fight doesn’t view the nuclear option as a disappointing fallback. Far from it. They’d see its use now as a major strategic victory.
Why this matters: Democrats are in a tougher spot on the Supreme Court than many realize. The base is braying for total warfare, and Schumer is channeling that pressure. Red state Democrats, however, are concerned about their re-election chances in 2018, and some are telling their more bipartisan Republican colleagues that they’re worried about facing primary challenges from the left.
A key point is made here:
There are other salient points as well, bu this one sticks out the most. This is precisely why I believe Democrats will not block the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. As Gorsuch is a “replacement” for Antonin Scalia, it will not shift the balance of the court. Democrats will put up a “fight” but in the end, eight Democrats from vulnerable states will okay Gorsuch’s nomination to go to the floor for a confirmation vote. Some of those eight may eventually vote against him, but if he’s confirmed, that won’t matter. They’ll be able to go back to their states and say, “I supported giving him a floor vote.”
It will be Trump’s next nomination where Democrats will fight to the death to make sure another conservative is not confirmed. Once that happens, the ‘nuclear option’ will be revisited. It’s doubtful McConnell will go along with it and with good reason. Democrats learned their lesson. Trump gets to fill judicial vacancies (including circuit court judges) at will, needing only the 51 vote majority for it to happen.