Anxiety grows in both parties over possible Supreme Court filibuster

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Senators from both parties are concerned about what will happen if Democrats block Neil Gorsuch’s nomination this week by using a legislative filibuster.

Reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the filibuster will be safe; however, others from both parties fear that the filibuster will be nixed if Democrats prevent Gorsuch from taking the position.

“The thing I worry most about is that we become like the House of Representatives. What’s the next step, legislation?” asked Sen. John McCain. (R-Ariz.). “I’m convinced it’s a slippery slope.”

Senator Bob Cooker (R-Tenn.) agreed. “If we continue on the path we’re on right now, the very next time there’s a legislative proposal that one side of the aisle feels is so important they cannot let their base down, [and] the pressure builds, then we’re going to vote the nuclear option on the legislative piece,” he said.  “That’s what will happen. Somebody will do it.”

Even Democrats fear what a filibuster could mean for the future of the Senate.

“People who have been here for a long time know that we’re going down the wrong path here,” said John Manchin (D-W.Va.). “The most unique political body in the world, the United States Senate, will be no more than a six-year term in the House.” He added, “I’m doing whatever I can to preserve the 60-vote rule.”

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat representing North Dakota, has also said she is against the filibuster.

“This erosion that seems to be happening, of course, I’m worried about it,” she said referring to the future of the filibuster.

But these Democratic senators do not represent the entire party in the matter. According to Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, Republicans will not get the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster. Schumer, along with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said they would support the filibuster.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) told Politico shortly after he retired from Congress that the legislative filibuster would not have a place in our government for much longer. “You can’t have a democracy decided by 60 out of 100, and that’s why changing the rules is one of the best things that has happened to America in a long time,” he said.

H/T:  The Hill

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