Green Light: Republicans Tee Up Showdown on Constitutional Option

The ball is officially in motion in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a motion yesterday for cloture which is the formal procedural move to block a filibuster.

With the Democrats promising to filibuster the vote for Neil Gorsuch on Thursday, Republicans plan to preempt it by changing the rules to kill the filibuster.

Over the next 24 hours, McConnell needs to nail down 50 GOP votes to prevent the filibuster.

If he can pull it off, Gorsuch is the newest Supreme Court justice.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved for cloture on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch Tuesday, as both the judge’s confirmation and the future of Senate rules hang in the balance.

Senate Republican leadership must now assemble the necessary votes for the “constitutional option” ahead of the vote on McConnell’s motion, now scheduled for Thursday, which would end debate and allow a vote of the full Senate on Gorsuch if he is to have any hope of being confirmed. At least fifty of the Senate’s fifty-two Republicans will have to sign on to change Senate rules to allow simple majority votes on cloture for Supreme Court nominees.

Senate Democrats have assembled at least forty-two senators who have pledged to filibuster any effort to bring Gorsuch to a vote of the full Senate — one more than is needed to prevent a vote under current Senate rules. The Democratic filibuster was put over the top during Monday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, at which Gorsuch was approved in a party-line 11-9 vote, making the constitutional option the only likely path to confirmation.

Senate rule changes can be accomplished by a simple majority. Because Vice-President Mike Pence holds the tie-breaking vote as President of the Senate, the constitutional option could be invoked if two or fewer Republican senators refuse to join the effort. If Republicans succeed Thursday in invoking cloture, the Senate would hold a vote of the full membership Friday, in which fifty-five senators — all fifty-two Republicans and three Democrats — have pledged to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court.

Several Republicans who had previously expressed their uncertainty or misgivings on the idea have confirmed they will back the constitutional option. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who, in the weeks before the cloture-proof filibuster took shape, was unwilling to committo changing Senate rules, came out forcefully in favor of the constitutional option Monday night, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he “absolutely” would support what Blitzer called the “nuclear option.”

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