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

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' 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 Ann WarrenSanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' Warren enters crucial debate with big momentum MORE (D-Mass.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Democratic senator on Trump's 'treason' comments about whistleblower: 'I worry about threats on his or her life' Overnight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group 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 GrassleyPhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese Trump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom 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.