Dems delay Senate panel vote on Supreme Court nominee

Democrats are delaying for one week an initial committee vote on Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, said Democrats had requested that the committee's vote on Gorsuch be punted to next week.

"I understand that the minority would like to hold [him] over," Grassley said during the Judiciary Committee's meeting on Monday.

Under committee rules any one member can request that a nomination be held the first time it appears on the agenda.

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Democrats were widely expected to delay the committee's vote until next week.

The delay means the committee vote will take place on April 3, giving Republicans days to meet their goal of winning Gorsuch's confirmation by the full Senate by the end of that week.

The Senate will then go into a recess.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerSenate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done MORE's office blasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE on Monday, accusing the Kentucky Republican of "ramming" Gorsuch through the Senate.

The average length of time between a committee vote and a full Senate vote is 12 days, according to Schumer's office.

Democrats are demanding a 60-vote threshold for Gorsuch's approval, but it is unclear whether the party has enough votes to support a filibuster against Trump's nominee.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge House clears .1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill MORE (D-Vt.), the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is hinting he could help Gorsuch overcome a filibuster, though he doesn't support his nomination.

“I am not inclined to filibuster, even though I’m not inclined to vote for him," Leahy told a Vermont news outlet.

Roughly 14 senators—largely from the party's progressive wing—have said they expect to oppose Gorsuch's nomination. No Democrats have come out in support of him, but most senators up for reelection in states carried by Trump remain on the fence.

Republicans have suggested they will change the Senate's rules allowing a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block Gorsuch.

The committee held a four-day hearing on Gorsuch's nomination last week, with Trump's nominee appearing before the committee for three days.

Grassley praised Gorsuch's performance calling him "deeply committed" to being impartial.

"Last week we got to see up-close how thoughtful, articulate, and humble he is," he said during Monday's committee meeting.

Democrats remain bitter over Republicans' refusal to give former President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing or a vote.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, read a list of former presidents who had been allowed to fill a vacancy in an election year during Monday's meeting.

"You can imagine perhaps on our side the depth of feeling that came about during this period of time," she said, referring to the fight over Garland.

Feinstein added that the millions pouring in to the fight over Gorsuch from outside groups is "counterproductive."

Democrats also delayed Rod Rosenstein, nominated to be deputy attorney general, by a week.