McCaskill backs filibuster of Gorsuch, makes nuclear option likely

By Stephen Dinan and Alex Swoyer







Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this March 14, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)









Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Friday that she will join Democrats’ attempted filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch, making it almost certain that Republicans will have to trigger the “nuclear option” to confirm President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee.

The Missouri Democrat said she is aware that her decision makes the nuclear option likely, and it could lead to more extreme judges being named to the high court, but she said she had too many questions about Judge Gorsuch’s “rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations.”

She’s the first Democrat up for re-election in a heavily red state next year to say she’ll join the filibuster, and her decision marks a break with two others, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who have said the judge is well-qualified to take a seat on the Supreme Court.

No Supreme Court nominee has ever been blocked through a partisan filibuster, but Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is rallying to make Judge Gorsuch the first.

Mrs. McCaskill’s decision puts Democrats close to the 41 senators needed to sustain a filibuster — a move that will force a constitutional showdown, as Republicans ponder whether to use a shortcut to change the Senate’s rules and curtail the power of the filibuster.

Mrs. McCaskill acknowledged she is feeding the “polarized politics” that have ensnared Washington, but said Judge Gorsuch was too extreme for her tastes.


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