With Senate Party leadership giving the go ahead to more vulnerable Democrats to announce their support, both Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp came out in favor of Judge Neil Gorsuch and will vote for cloture yesterday. So why the title indicating a probable filibuster? Because, by our current count, there are already thirty-eight Democrats who will, at least initially, vote against cloture. Some we have down as opposed have made noise that they don’t want to filibuster, like Maryland Senator Ben Cardin.
But with holdouts like Tim Kaine and Catherine Cortez Masto finally coming down on the side of opposing, and willing to block, the nominee, all of the Democrats currently opposing him who haven’t made as much stink opposing the filibuster will likely, at least temporarily, come down on the side of initial opposition. The Judiciary Committee will vote on recommending the nomination Monday, and the only Democratic member on it still undecided is Chris Coons. He will probably announce his decision just before that vote.
Even if enough Democrats come out against the nominee by that Committee vote to filibuster, it’s a long week ahead: plenty of time for a Republican moderate like Susan Collins to poke at Senators like Cardin, Patrick Leahy, or the remaining undecideds to at least get Gorsuch through cloture. The Republican side appears ready to go nuclear if the cloture vote expected next Friday fails. With a mostly negative news cycle for Republicans this week, there’s less pressure on the Democrats to bend, but April 7th may as well be a lifetime away.