Chuck Schumer announced this morning that Senate Democrats will filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
This seems like an odd decision, as Senate Republicans will no doubt follow the lead of Harry Reid and Schumer himself, by ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Gorsuch will be confirmed, and the filibuster will have been abolished in a context that is good for Republicans–on behalf of a nominee who is not controversial.
A Rasmussen survey published yesterday found that voters don’t think much of the Democrats’ opposition to Gorsuch:
Voters remain confident that Judge Neil Gorsuch will be approved for the Supreme Court and think he deserves it more than President Obama’s nominees did at this stage of the process. Opposition to Gorsuch is seen as driven more by politics than concerns about his judicial thinking.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters believe opposition to President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee is due mostly to partisan politics. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree and say that opposition is based more on honest differences of opinion.
It seems odd, too, that Schumer didn’t even wait until the hearing on Gursuch’s nomination has been concluded to announce the Democrats’ filibuster. This would appear to support the view that the decision is political and has little to do with the merits of Gorsuch’s nomination.
I don’t know how to explain Schumer’s announcement, except as evidence that 1) Senate Democrats perceive that they need to cater to the party’s hysterical base, and 2) they are convinced that the filibuster, as to Supreme Court nominees, is dead in any event.
PAUL ADDS: I agree that these are the two most plausible explanations for Schumer’s announcement. However, the announcement isn’t inconsistent with the Democrats trying to make a deal whereby they eventually back away from the filibuster in exchange for promises about how the Senate will proceed on the next Trump nominee.
I think all of us agree that Senate Republicans would be crazy to make such a deal, and I think it’s unlikely that such a deal will occur.