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Notes on the Senate Democrats' response to Neil Gorsuch

Nationally, there is no motivation for Dems to work with Republicans here. One might claim to be saving one's ammunition for another, hypothetical fight, but the threat of removing filibusters on SCOTUS nominees will remain. Republicans will use it again and again, with impunity, unless and until they actually invoke the rule change or lose their majority. Acquiescing to their bullying now will simply confirm their tactic.
But, as I have said before, politics are local. Senator Joe Manchin of conservative West Virginia, for example, may not have a lot of room to stand with his fellow Democrats in filibustering a well qualified (though creepily dispassionate, and thus not at all compassionate) conservative judge. Local politics, with tough reelection battles looming, is what will keep Democrats from having a strongly united front here.
But Democrats can lose 7 votes on cloture and still continue a filibuster unless and until Republicans in the Senate change the rules. All they need is 41 Senators willing to keep debate open and ongoing. This is really their only means of rebuking Trump, Gorsuch, or Senate Republicans in this matter. They should use it.


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