Schumer: Trump's Supreme Court pick will need 60 votes
© Greg Nash

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump to lift Sudan terror sponsor designation Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts The 2016 and 2020 Senate votes are about the same thing: constitutionalist judges MORE (D-N.Y.) insisted on Wednesday that Neil Gorsuch, Trump's Supreme Court pick, will need 60 votes to clear the upper chamber. 

"We Democrats will insist on a rigorous but fair process. There will be 60 votes for confirmation," he said from the Senate floor. "There will be 60 votes for confirmation." 
 
Trump's nomination of the well-respected conservative jurist is kicking off a high-stakes battle in the Senate. Five progressive lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE (D-Mass.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan Merkley Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (D-Ore.), have already come out in opposition to Trump's nominee. 
 
Schumer said requiring 60 votes for confirmation of Gorsuch is "the right thing to do." 
 
Though Merkley has said he will filibuster Trump's pick, Schumer is publicly staying on the fence and hasn't explicitly backed a filibuster. 
 
But Schumer is defending his party's push for Gorsuch to get 60 votes, noting that previous Supreme Court nominees have been able to win bipartisan support. 
 
"It was a bar met by each of President Obama's nominations," he said. "In my mind 60 votes is the appropriate way to go whether there is a Democratic president or a Republican president, a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate." 
 
Both of Obama's nominees, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, got bipartisan support, but were not filibustered by Republicans, who were then in the minority, or required to overcome a 60-threshold procedural vote. 
 
The back-and-forth over Trump's nominee comes as the president endorsed going "nuclear" and lowering the requirement to a simple majority if Democrats block his nominee. 
 
 
Schumer appeared to push against Trump on Wednesday, arguing that if Gorsuch can't get 60 votes, then the "problem" is with the president's pick. 
 
"Those who say at the end of this process there are only two possible results, that the Senate will confirm this nominee or Republicans will use the nuclear options to change the rules of the Senate are dead wrong. That is a false choice," he said. 
 
He added that, in that case, "the answer should not be to change the rules of the Senate, but to change the nominee to a mainstream candidate." 
 
Gorsuch is making early rounds on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, meeting with McConnell, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Republicans: Supreme Court won't toss ObamaCare Barrett sidesteps Democratic questions amid high-stakes grilling MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line MORE (R-Utah), who is also a member of the committee responsible for green lighting his nomination. 
 
McConnell praised Gorsuch on Wednesday, calling him an "outstanding" nominee. He pushed Democrats to avoid forcing Republicans to file cloture on the pick, something that has only been required four times for Supreme Court nominees. 
 
"I expect Democrats who insist we need nine to follow through on giving that advice by giving the new nominee a fair consideration and up-or-down vote just as we did for past presidents of both parties," he said on Wednesday. 
 
But Democrats remain bitter over McConnell's treatment of Merrick Garland, Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Senate Republicans refused to give Garland a hearing or a vote.
 
Schumer added on Wednesday that Gorsuch should be subject to greater scrutiny because of lingering concerns over the Trump administration. 
 
The administration has "less respect for the rule of law than any in recent memory and is challenging the constitution in unprecedented fashion so there's a special burden on this nominee to be an independent jurists," he argued.