The hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch are now less than two weeks out, so where does every Senator likely stand on at least a cloture vote? Barring the elimination of the filibuster, Republicans will need eight Democrats to invoke and end debate on his nomination.
We’ve been tracking this since Gorsuch was announced, and have had some Senators who have made a little noise about him after recent meetings, like Al Franken, as No nearly from the start. The initial statements from a lot of these Senators makes their ultimate decision a lot less mysterious.
We have placed the Senators in slightly different categories on this particular nomination than with our Cabinet estimates:
YES/Green indicates a Senator likely to invoke cloture on the nomination (not necessarily for the nominee, but enough for them to clear a filibuster)
Unknown/Yellow indicates that a Senator is genuinely open to invoking cloture. They may not support the nominee on final confirmation, but they will allow that up/down vote to happen.
NO/Red indicates a Senator is a likely no. A Senator marked as a “no” may have not actually declared this directly, but their statements make it pretty clear (“I have concerns with a nominee who [clearly in the mold of Scalia, holds views that are the polar opposite of my own]”) they have no intention of actually voting for this nominee.
With Senator Mark Warner, we now have 41 Democrats opposing cloture. If all hold onto their decision, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will resort to the nuclear option, effectively ending the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees.
How our likely estimates are compiled
When we started tracking Gorsuch, we decided to use the term “likely” for cloture, which remains our ratings on the charts if we have someone on yes or no for cloture. As we approach a final Senate vote, there is always a chance that a few Senators may change their minds, hence our use of likely: always keep a bit of surprise in mind.
Update: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who we’ve had as a NO on cloture since Gorsuch was announced, reiterated his no and has made it clear his Party intends to filibuster. There will be a lot of headlines for Democrats who release statements to that effect, but remember nearly ALL of them were nays from the very get go: we’ve had over two dozen Democrats as such since we started tracking the nominee.
Carper is a no on cloture, and Blumenthal’s statements post-hearing yesterday move him from undecided to a likely no. As Murphy has tracked closely with Blumenthal on supporting/opposing various Trump nominations, he moves to a nay as well.
Senator Leahy opposes Gorsuch, but also opposes the filibuster plan, so we have moved him to undecided.
Bill Nelson also a no on Gorsuch. 3/27/2017
Dick Durbin is a no on Gorsuch and cloture 3/28/2017
Heidi Heitkamp has signaled she will vote for cloture, unsure of final confirmation 3/28/2017
Tim Kaine is a NO on cloture, 3/29/2017
Catherine Cortez Masto is a NO on cloture, 3/30/2017
Claire McCaskill (Missouri, up for reelection in 2018) is a NO on cloture, 3/31/2017
Joe Donnelly (D-IN, up for reelection in 2018) will vote YES, 4/2/2017.
Jon Tester (MT, up for reelection in 2018) will vote NO on cloture 4/2/2017.
Mark Warner (VA) will vote NO on cloture 4/3/2017.
Pat Leahy opposes advancing the nomination in any context now, per his statement ahead of the committee vote 4/3/2017.
Bennet will vote for cloture 4/3/2017.
Coons will vote no on his nomination and advancing it…waiting for a statement on cloture…4/3/2017.
A few have asked why we have Cardin as for a filibuster when he’s recently stated he doesn’t want to go that route. We’ve heard similar rhetoric from both McCaskill and Leahy who went on to oppose cloture. Cardin came out pretty strongly against Gorsuch, and with pressure from other Democrats to hold a line, its hard to walk-back from that and allow cloture. Menendez has opposed most of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, and occupies a political space to the left of several Senators who have already come out against Gorsuch. Senator Menendez also opposed Justice Alito and was one of 25 Senators voting to filibuster him in 2005. It’s difficult to see either Cardin or Menendez going against the majority of their party colleagues and breaking the filibuster.