WASHINGTON—As senators prepare to vote on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday highlighted several key facts to the public to inform the nationwide discussion as the Senate increasingly appears headed to a historic outcome one way or the other.
In all of American history, there has never been a successful partisan filibuster from either party of a Supreme Court nominee. The first such attempted filibuster was Justice Samuel Alito in 2006, led by Senate Democrats.
Even then, when Neil Gorsuch went before the Senate in that same year for confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, he was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote without a single dissenting senator. Democratic senators who are leading the charge against Gorsuch now, such a Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, and Patrick Leahy, did not object a decade ago. Several senators from red states who are up for reelection in 2018 were also in the Senate in 2006, such as Bill Nelson and Debbie Stabenow.
When insisting that President George W. Bush must use American Bar Association (ABA) ratings as part of his judicial vetting process, Schumer and Leahy referred to the ABA rating as the “gold standard” for judicial nominees. The ABA recently gave Gorsuch a unanimous “well-qualified” rating for the Supreme Court, which is its highest rating.
Although Schumer recently said that “after careful deliberation” he has decided to oppose Gorsuch, before Gorsuch was named, Schumer told two media outlets that he intended to block whoever President Trump would nominate: first was Rachel Maddow on January 3, and then CNN’s State of the Union on January 22.
Finally, the Washington Post (hardly a rightwing bastion) gave Schumer “Two Pinnochios” for saying there is a 60-vote standard for Supreme Court nominations. The Post noted that two of the current nine justices were confirmed with less than 60 votes. (Alito received 58, and Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed with 52.)
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.