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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Republican reactions to Cheney's removal Flake: No greater offense than honesty in today's Republican Party Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (Ariz.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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 CruzYang: Those who thought tweet in support of Israel was 'overly simplistic' are correct CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump 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 DonnellyRepublicans fret over divisive candidates Everybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIs the Constitution in the way of DC statehood? Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Joe Manchin is wrong — D.C. statehood is constitutional MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives 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 Defense: Former Pentagon chief to testify about Capitol riot Wednesday | Senate Intelligence chairman wants Biden to review US Space Command move Senate Intelligence chairman wants Biden to review US Space Command move Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders 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 SessionsOne quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: 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 McCaskillDemocratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Demings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding Republicans fret over divisive candidates 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.