Hatch would support the nuclear option
The move might be necessary for the GOP to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch by week's end
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, predicted Monday that it will take a major change in the chamber’s rules to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Speaking on CNN’s “Newsroom” with John Berman and Poppy Harlow, the Utah lawmaker said it appeared “like we’re going to do that.”
“All I can say is, we can’t let them just stop one of the best nominees ever nominated to the Supreme Court because their far-left constituencies are screaming and shouting,” Hatch said of his Democratic colleagues. “They can’t seem to do that and don’t seem to have the courage to do that.”
The controversial move, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would initiate, would alter Senate rules to lower the threshold for ending a filibuster of Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51. The action would mean the 52 Senate Republicans could then force Gorsuch’s confirmation without any support from across the aisle, a step much contended by their Democratic counterparts.
Hatch dismissed Democratic resistance in an interview with CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Monday, saying the pushback was rooted in a discontent with the President rather than Gorsuch himself.
“Frankly, you know, I think they’re just in a snit because they lost the election,” Hatch said. “And they just hate Donald Trump.”
By attempting a filibuster, Democratic senators are displaying “stupidity” and should reserve their efforts for the next Supreme Court nomination, Hatch told Malveaux.
“I respect my Democratic colleagues, but this is stupidity,” Hatch said. “If they want to cause an Armageddon, wait ‘til the next nominee is nominated. Then, if they don’t like that, that’s perhaps when they could use the filibuster. But to use it on a nominee like Neil Gorsuch – that’s just crazy.”
Some Senate institutionalists have expressed concern that changing the rules in such a way would detract from senators’ ability to reach bipartisan solutions and act as a counterweight to the majority-dominated House. However, Democrats maintain that Republicans already altered the landscape in 2016 with their failure to hold hearings for then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
An institutionalist himself, Hatch argued Monday that Republicans at the time “acted fully and wholly within the rules and, I think, did so properly.”
“That’s what democracy is,” Hatch said on CNN’s “Newsroom.” “Democracy says that, you know, you can hold a vote or you don’t have to hold a vote.”
Whether or not the nuclear option will be implemented should be made clear within the week. McConnell announced last week that the Senate would vote on – and confirm – Gorsuch on Friday ahead of a two-week Congressional recess.