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Dem Sen Coons: GOP Using Nuclear Option to Confirm Gorsuch ‘Tragic’

Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said he thought it was unlikely President Donald Trump’s nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, would get the needed 60 votes required by Senate rules for his confirmation.

That according to host Joe Scarborough would almost certainly mean Senate Republican leadership scrapping the 60-vote threshold filibuster-defeating requirement and implementing the nuclear option, which would lower the threshold to a simple 51-vote majority.

Coons said such a move by Senate Republicans would be “tragic.”

Partial transcript as follows:

SCARBOROUGH: Let’s me ask you a couple of quick policy questions. First of all, Gorsuch. I’m disappointed in a lot of what I’m hearing. I know Gorsuch, obviously, follows Garland and the Republicans acted in an abhorrent manner on Garland, but is that any reason for us to not give Gorsuch a fair look?

COONS: Well, Gorsuch got what Garland didn’t, which — a fair hearing. He got a full four days of hearings last week. I questioned him vigorously, some would say aggressively. And he is a charming man. He’s got a good resume. He’s got strong qualifications in terms of his education —

SCARBOROUGH: Right.

COONS: — and service on the court but he would be, by some measures, the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court.

SCARBOROUGH: So, should he deserve an up or down vote in the Senate?

COONS: He will get an up or down vote. Senator Schumer, our minority leader, has said it’s going to be a 60-vote margin and I doubt he’s going to get 60 votes. And the question then, Joe, becomes what do we do? There’s a lot of finger-pointing. There’s a lot of Democrats justifiably still very mad about the treatment of Merrick Garland.

SCARBOROUGH: Obviously, yes, but do you not think we’re going to get to 60 votes?

COONS: I don’t think he’s going to get 60 votes.

SCARBOROUGH: For cloture?

COONS: No.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. Well, so then the Republicans are going to pass it using the so-called nuclear option.

COONS: Almost certainly, and I think this is tragic. And in talking to friends on both sides of the aisle we’ve got a lot of senators concerned about where we’re headed. There’s Republicans still very mad at us over the 2013 change to the filibuster rule. We’re mad at them about shutting down the government. They’re mad at us about Gorsuch and we are not headed in a good direction. I’m very concerned about where we’re headed.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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