WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito says a filibuster by Senate Democrats would “obstruct” their ability to give a vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Rather than give him his day and let President Trump have the nomination, I think that the Democrats look like the obstructionists that they are on this particular issue,” Capito (R-W.Va.) said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Gorsuch’s nomination to the full Senate.
Democrats agreed to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination saying they would oppose and vote to block him.
Republicans need a total of 60 votes to end the filibuster. As of Tuesday morning, Capito said they had about 56 votes including fellow Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a few Democrats who are voting with them.
Democrats say they have enough votes to block the nomination vote, which was scheduled to take place Friday on the Senate Floor. Republicans would then need to withdraw the Gorsuch nomination or change Senate rules to eliminate the 60-vote requirement.
“They’re setting history here in terms of a filibuster for somebody who has already passed out of committee,” Capito said. “This has never been done before.”
Capito said Democrats are probably still upset U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland never received a confirmation hearing. Garland was President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
“The hurt feelings over what happened with Marrick Garland are definitely reasons. Is that reason enough to move in this direction? Personally, I don’t think so,” she said.
November election results could also play a role in the Republican-Democrat showdown, Capito said.
“Some of these larger issues have really grinded us to a halt,” she said. “I think that feelings from the election — some people just can’t get over that they didn’t win.”
Capito said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) plans to file “the nuclear option” for a 60-vote threshold on Gorsuch. If that happens, Republicans will be able to change the long-standing rules to bypass the filibuster and pass the Gorsuch nomination with less than 60 votes. The change would only apply to Supreme Court nominations.