WASHINGTON — Democrats blocked President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee with a historic filibuster on the Senate floor Thursday, but their victory was short-lived.
Republicans prepared to strike back with a Senate rules change that would put Judge Neil Gorsuch on the court anyway and eliminate the filibuster for all future Supreme Court candidates.
The vote was 55-45, short of the 60 needed to advance Gorsuch over procedural hurdles to a final vote. All 44 Democrats and independents voted against advancing Gorsuch, and for procedural reasons, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast his vote with them to enable the vote to be reconsidered.
Many senators voted from their seats, a rare and theatrical occurrence, then stayed in the chamber for the drama yet to unfold.
McConnell prepared to make procedural maneuvers to lower the vote threshold to advance Gorsuch’s nomination from the current 60 votes to a mere majority in the 100-member Senate. Under those new rules, which the 52-member Republican majority can ratify despite bitter objections from the Democrats, another vote will be held which would allow Gorsuch to move forward to final passage.
He is expected to be confirmed on Friday and take his seat on the court later this month, in time to hear the final cases of the term.