Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.) blasted Senate Republicans for being out of step with the country and conceded Wednesday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor would win fewer votes than Chief Justice John Roberts.
“It appears today we’re going to get a handful of Republicans,” Reid told reporters during a press conference with the leaders of civil rights groups. “I hope that my prediction is wrong. I hope we get half the Republicans. It would be great to get 20 Republicans.
So far only five Republicans have pledged to support the nominee: Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP senator grilled over DeVos vote during town hall GOP senator: Flynn should testify on Russia Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamClub for Growth launches ad targeting GOP tax writer Dem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (S.C.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Mel Martinez (Fla.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).
Reid noted that Roberts won the support of about half of the Democratic Conference in 2005.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach MORE (D-N.Y.), the vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference, predicted earlier this month that “there's a very good chance she's going to get as many, if not more, votes than Judge Roberts got, which was 78."
But those high hopes have come back down to Earth. Sotomayor, who would become the first Hispanic member of the high court, failed even to win the support of the two Republican senators from Texas, Sens. John CornynJohn CornynRyan on border: ‘We will get this done’ Ryan tours Mexican border on horseback IPAB’s Medicare cuts will threaten seniors’ access to care MORE and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Both lawmakers said they would oppose her despite representing a state that is 32 percent Hispanic.
Senate insiders think the opposition of the National Rifle Association (NRA) may have swayed some Republicans against Sotomayor. The gun rights group sent a letter to Senate leaders last week announcing their opposition and pledging to factor her confirmation vote in future candidate evaluations.
Reid, despite facing a difficult reelection in a state where gun rights are popular, said the NRA’s action “doesn’t persuade me.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon angling to lower price of Yahoo purchase: report MORE (D-Vt.), who appeared alongside Reid, said the NRA’s opposition was “totally out of line.”
“I have a pistol range behind my house,” Leahy told reporters. “At some point you have to stand up for what is right.
“I would hope all senators would make up their minds based on what they saw and heard [during committee hearings] and not on what any pressure group on either the right or the left comes up with.”