Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican, has heard the threat from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of NY to filibuster President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. Many of these seats are open because, when Republicans retook the Senate in 2015, confirmation of Obama nominees essentially stopped.
"I hope that we can get 60 votes and not change 200 plus years of history", said Graham.
The prior change in the Senate voting rules did not apply to nominees for the Supreme Court or to enactment of legislation.
"The answer isn't to change the rules, it's to change the nominee", he said. In order to break the filibuster under normal means, eight Democrats would have to vote with Republicans to end debate on Gorsuch's nomination.
Mr Gorsuch, 49, would restore a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court that lapsed with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
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Senate Democrats opposed to Gorsuch aren't making their case now based on a tit-for-tat around Garland but on the merits of his record. Expect the Democrats to filibuster every SCOTUS nominee that President Trump produces. But for Wednesday's hearing, they ran up the white flag, with CBS and NBC running very short news briefs while ABC failed to mention Gorsuch nor the hearing at all.
While Senators come and go, the 49-year-old Gorsuch could serve on the Court for thirty or forty years, deeply distorting the law. Schumer asked other Democrats to join him to block an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch, perhaps not an unexpected move; yet unprecedented.
Blocking the nomination would challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - who refused to even hold a hearing on the Garland nomination - to invoke the "nuclear option" by changing Senate rules.
On Thursday, the committee heard from witnesses supporting and opposing Gorsuch, including representatives of the American Bar Association, the lawyers group that evaluates such nominees and gave Gorsuch its highest rating of "well qualified". "I suggest we fulfill our responsibility to this nominee and the country by considering his nomination in the manner his predecessor deserved but was denied".