McConnell: Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to Supreme Court "one way or the other" this week

04/02/2017 11:22 AM

As Democrats in the U.S. Senate look to deny Neil Gorsuch the 60 votes needed for his confirmation to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Gorsuch will take a spot on the high court “one way or the other” this week.

McConnell, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, made clear he’s prepared to evoke the so-called “nuclear option” to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, changing the Senate’s rules and eliminating the 60-vote threshold needed to affirm Supreme Court nominees.

Republicans currently hold a 52-member majority in the Senate, with some red-state Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota, saying they plan to vote in favor of Gorsuch.

“What I can tell you is that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week,” McConnell said. “How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends, how many of them are willing to oppose cloture on a partisan basis to kill a Supreme Court nominee.”

The battle over Supreme Court picks erupted last year following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell turned former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland — and previous statements from Democrats, like former Vice President Joe Biden, against confirming Supreme Court picks during presidential elections — into a campaign talking point.

When asked by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd why he didn’t put Garland up for a vote and allow his nomination to fail, McConnell said that was “litigated” in last year’s election cycle and that Senate Democrats would have blocked a Republican president’s pick in the same situation.

“The American people decided they wanted Donald Trump to make the nomination, not Hillary Clinton, and what’s before us now Chuck is not what happened last year, but the qualifications of Neil Gorsuch,” he said.

“There’s no rational basis, no principled reason for voting against Neil Gorsuch, and that’s what’s before the Senate this week,” McConnell added.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said minutes later that rather than eliminating the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court picks, President Donald Trump should meet with Senate Republicans and Democrats to find another nominee.

“When a nominee doesn’t get 60 votes, you shouldn’t change the rules,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “You should change the nominee.”

McConnell also discussed congressional investigations into possible Russian interference in last year’s presidential contest and potential links between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for the National Security Administration, through his attorney recently offered to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in exchange for immunity, an offer the panel rejected.

House Democrats have called for Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to recuse himself from the investigation, questioning his impartiality in that probe.

McConnell said the Senate’s investigation won’t be marred by questions on what’s happening in the lower chamber of Congress. He noted that Sens. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the panel, vowed to pursue the facts in their Russian inquiry.

“It’s pretty clear the contrast here,” he said. “… I think the American people can depend on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation to be done on a bipartisan basis and to go wherever the facts lead us.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

7 Comments

Comments

  • Heza Putz wrote on April 02, 2017 01:43 PM :

    Sing along with the bouncing ball Harry Reid…..One way or another I’m gonna find ya I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha One way or another I’m gonna win ya I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha

  • Bill Adkins wrote on April 02, 2017 09:10 PM :

    You know – I’d likely support Gorsuch in another circumstance – but what about the Garland Standard of waiting until the American people are heard? The current circumstance in which Donald Trump is an illegitimate POTUS demands consideration. Eight is enough – this selection should wait unitl a legitimate president is elected.

  • Bill Adkins wrote on April 02, 2017 09:10 PM :

    You know – I’d likely support Gorsuch in another circumstance – but what about the Garland Standard of waiting until the American people are heard? The current circumstance in which Donald Trump is an illegitimate POTUS demands consideration. Eight is enough – this selection should wait unitl a legitimate president is elected.

  • Geoff Young wrote on April 03, 2017 08:58 AM :

    The Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP wrote on 3/16/17, “To the contrary, his (Neil Gorsuch’s) record reflects a propensity toward minimizing equality protections across various areas. For these reasons, LDF must oppose the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.”

    We do not reach this conclusion lightly. In fact, LDF does not take a position on every Supreme Court nominee. However, a hard and careful review of Judge Gorsuch’s record raises serious concern about how he will approach cases involving civil rights issues of great import to the communities we serve. Without question, the findings also suggest that he is deeply ideological and conservative. Across different issues, including when race is directly and indirectly implicated, Judge Gorsuch has regularly favored the interests of the privileged and powerful — whether the government, corporations, or wealthy individuals — at the expense of equality and inclusion.”

    http://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/naacp-legal-defense-fund-releases-comprehensive-report-civil-rights-record-judge-neil-

    Any senator (R, D, or I) who votes to confirm Neil Gorsuch is knowingly putting the civil rights of all Americans in imminent danger. Gorsuch is a clear & present danger to the Constitution & the rule of law, and he must be defeated. Mitch McConnell once again shows how intensely hypocritical he is. McConnell is an enemy of freedom & an enemy of the Constitution. He should announce his opposition to Gorsuch or else resign immediately from the Senate.

  • MikeTrip wrote on April 03, 2017 01:47 PM :

    Nuke ‘em Mitch !

  • Bill Adkins wrote on April 03, 2017 02:13 PM :

    I suppose you could get MAD, Mitch – in 2018 or 2020 nuking can become mutual.

  • Weatherman wrote on April 03, 2017 08:40 PM :

    Come on Mitch, press the red button. Will come in more handy when it’s time to replace ol’ lady Ginsburg with Bill Pryor….

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