- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

If time spent talking about JudgeNeil Gorsuch is any indication, he’s a shoo-in for confirmation.

Republicans say they’ve outdistanced Democrats 6-to-1 when it comes to floor time spent on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, signaling that all the momentum is with JudgeGorsuch as he prepares for his confirmation hearing next week.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said Senate Democrats have yet to figure out a strategy to try to derail JudgeGorsuch, leaving liberal groups steaming.

“The Democrat base is feeling like they’ve been completely abandoned by the Democrat leadership, and that leadership has really been unable to get a foothold in this battle,” said Ms. Severino.

Last week a group of nearly a dozen liberal groups wrote a letter to Democratic senators expressing disappointment over their lack of protest against the Supreme Court nominee.

“We need you to do better,” the groups, led by NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in their letter.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but a spokesman for his top lieutenant, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, dismissed the floor-time metric.

“A better comparison would be how many more floor speeches have been given about Judge Garland than JudgeGorsuch,” said Ben Marter, Mr. Durbin’s communications director.

Judge Merrick Garland was President Obama’s pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat. Republicans blocked any action on him last year, leaving the slot open for President Trump to fill — and enraging Democrats who said the seat was stolen from them.

Some Democrats have said that alone is reason to filibuster JudgeGorsuch.

Drew Courtney, the communications director at People for an American Way, which aired anti-Gorsuch ads last month, wasn’t surprised to learn Republicans have spent more floor time on JudgeGorsuch than Democrats.

“That’s what the hearings are for,” Mr. Courtney said.

Mr. Courtney said it’s more important that every member of the Democratic caucus has called for a 60-vote threshold for confirming JudgeGorsuch to the Supreme Court.

He also said nine Democrats have already announced their opposition to JudgeGorsuch.

“Democrats are well positioned to fight hard on this nomination. I know McConnell et al. want to build up a narrative that confirmation is inevitable, but it’s just not supported by the facts,” said Mr. Courtney.

Republicans have only 52 senators, or eight shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster if all Democrats opposed JudgeGorsuch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said whether he would use the so-called “nuclear option” to change filibuster rules if Democrats do try to block the nomination. But Mr. McConnell has said JudgeGorsuch will be confirmed.

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