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 FlakeGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Police arrest 128 protesting Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill GOP launches counteroffensive on Kavanaugh MORE (Ariz.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOvernight Health Care: GOP plays defense over pre-existing conditions | Groups furious over new Trump immigration proposal | Public health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children GOP plays defense on ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions Heller embraces Trump in risky attempt to survive in November 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 CruzTrump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Viral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate 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 DonnellyThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos GOP plays defense on ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions Doug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHeitkamp highlights anti-human trafficking bill in new ad Midterm polling data favors Democrats — in moderation This week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos 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 BennetOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Multiple NFL players continue on-field protests during national anthem 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 SessionsRosenstein faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 13 states accepted Sessions invitation to meeting on social media bias: report 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 McCaskillDisclosures suggest rebates and insurers responsible for rising out-of-pocket drug costs Midterm polling data favors Democrats — in moderation Nelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity 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.