Trump backs curbing filibuster if Dems block Supreme Court pick

President Trump is urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellValerie Jarrett slams GOP for not including women in healthcare discussions Healthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Top GOP lawmaker questions tax break for wealthy in healthcare plan MORE (R-Ky.) to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block his pick.

Trump told Fox News that he would back getting rid of the 60-vote threshold for high court nominees if he can't win over the support of at least eight Democrats for his nominee, who is expected to be announced next week.  
 
 
"That's not fair to a man," he added. "Other people are delayed, look at [Mike] Pompeo for CIA. That is a great choice. Everybody agrees." 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Senate GOP leadership hasn't publicly backed using the "nuclear option" to get Trump's Supreme Court pick through the upper chamber. The historic move would allow them to get the pick cleared with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes now needed if the nominee is filibustered. 
 
Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneBehind closed doors, tensions in the GOP Pro-Trump group pulls ads targeting GOP senator on ObamaCare repeal GOP chairman wants 'robust' tax reform process in the Senate MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, demurred this week when pressed if he supported nixing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. 
 
"I'm in favor of confirming the nominee," he told reporters. 
 
Pressed that "that sounds like a yes," Thune urged Democrats not to filibuster a Supreme Court pick. 

"If they do, then I guess we'll see what steps need to be taken at the time," he added. "But I think the one thing that we're committed to is getting a Supreme Court justice confirmed, and that's something on which I think there is no disagreement." 
 
Trump is expected to announce his nominee next week and told Fox News's "Hannity" that he has the "decision pretty much in my mind."

"That's subject to change at the last moment, but I think this will be a great choice,” he added.

Republican senators signaled after the election that they were wary of rolling back the filibuster, warning the move could come back to bite them when they return to the minority. 
 
Democrats, under the leadership of then-Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems face identity crisis Heller under siege, even before healthcare Charles Koch thanks Harry Reid for helping his book sales MORE (D-Nev.), got rid of the 60-vote threshold in 2013 for lower court and Cabinet nominees. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerTougher Russia sanctions bill facing another setback Trump claims GOP has a 'big surprise' on healthcare Senate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (D-N.Y.) has opened the door to Democrats blocking Trump's pick, threatening to leave the seat open if the president doesn't pick a "mainstream" nominee. 
 
"We're not going to do what the Republicans did, but if the candidate's out of the mainstream, I can tell you, I will fight and my caucus will fight tooth and nail against them," he told reporters this week. 
 
The Supreme Court seat has been vacant since February 2015, when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee to fill the seat, a hearing or a vote. 
 
McConnell however argued there is a difference between Democrats potentially opposing Trump's nominee and the GOP strategy against Garland. 

"Under Obama, Sotomayor and Kagan; no filibusters. That's apples and apples. First term, new president, Supreme Court vacancy," he said. "What we hope would be that our Democratic friends will treat President Trump's nominees in the same way that we treated Clinton and Obama."