Progressives set to declare victory on Gorsuch, one way or the other

Progressives set to declare victory on Gorsuch, one way or the other
© Greg Nash

Progressives are declaring an early victory over Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination.

Even if President Trump’s pick is confirmed after a historic Senate vote on Thursday to end the minority party's ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominations, liberal groups think they’ll win.

They predict that Republicans will face a backlash over changing the Senate’s rules and will have to own any controversial decisions handed down by the Supreme Court heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election.

“It's been our belief since election night that Democrats' job is to do everything they can to block Trump's interest and agenda,” said Heidi Hess, the senior campaign manager for Credo Action. “We're absolutely in support of the Democratic Party acting like the opposition party.”

Kaylie Hanson Long, a spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, added separately that if Republicans decide to employ the "nuclear option" on Gorsuch, they will be changing the rules for “a president under active FBI investigation for potential ties to Russia.”

“Let’s be clear: the decision to blow up the Senate is squarely in the hands of Republicans, and Republicans alone. And it will be only Republican votes to change the rules,” she wrote in a memo to reporters.

Outside groups are stepping up their attacks on a handful of vulnerable Republicans.

The People’s Defense — a coalition of outside groups led by NARAL— released digital ad campaign worth at least $100,000 targeting Republicans in Arizona, Alaska, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina, warning them that “history is watching.”

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (Ariz.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (Nev.) are considered the two most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2018.

The Constitutional Responsibility Project also released last-minute ads targeting Republicans in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched newspaper ads targeting Flake, Heller and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (R-Texas), who is up for reelection in 2018 and already has a Democratic opponent, as well as red-state Democratic Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate rejects Trump immigration plan MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSenate rejects Trump immigration plan Cramer to announce North Dakota Senate run on Friday Senate Democrats not sold on bipartisan immigration deal MORE (N.D.).

A handful of red-state and centrist Democratic senators have cast doubt over the strategy of blocking Gorsuch, who will fill a seat held by former conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. They’ve suggested it might be better to have the standoff over the next court vacancy.

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetColorado senators pitch immigration compromise Colorado senators mark Olympics with Senate hallway curling GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races MORE (D-Colo.), who is opposing the Democratic filibuster against Gorsuch, said earlier this week that he had spent weeks trying to avoid the “nuclear option.”

"If we go down this road we will undermine the minority's ability to check this administration and all those who follow," he said from the Senate floor.

He warned that if senators don't back down Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE or EPA Administer Scott Pruitt, who Democrats have serious concerns about, could be nominated to the Supreme Court and Democrats would have no tools to block them.

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mo.), who is opposing Gorsuch’s nomination, raised similar concerns during a private fundraiser, audio of which was leaked by the Missouri Republican Party.