White House spokesman Sean Spicer accuses Democrats of ''partisan obstruction'' and says a successful filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would be unprecedented. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: White House spokesman Sean Spicer accused Democrats of "partisan obstruction" and said a successful filibuster of the Supreme Court nominee would be unprecedented. During Monday's press briefing Spicer said, "We have entered a whole new league if this goes forward." He noted that President Donald Trump had voiced support for the "nuclear option" some weeks ago, but that that decision lay with McConnell. Democrats on Monday amassed enough support to block a U.S. Senate confirmation vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, but Republicans vowed to change the Senate rules to ensure the conservative judge gets the lifetime job. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to send Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate, setting up a political showdown between Trump's fellow Republicans and the opposition Democrats that appears likely to trigger a change in long-standing Senate rules to allow his confirmation. Before the vote, Senator Christopher Coons, a member of the panel, became the 41st Democrat to announce support for a procedural hurdle called a filibuster requiring a super-majority of 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to allow a confirmation vote. The Senate's Republican leaders insist Gorsuch will be confirmed on the Senate floor on Friday regardless of what the Democrats do. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate. In the face of the filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be expected to force a confirmation vote by having the Senate change its rules and allow for a simple majority vote for confirmation of Supreme Court justices, a move sometimes called the "nuclear option" that Trump has urged. Judiciary Committee Republicans blasted Democrats for pursuing what they called the first "partisan filibuster" of a Supreme Court nominee - there was a successful bipartisan filibuster five decades ago against a Democratic president's nominee - and said it would come to naught because of the threatened rule change. But it was Senate Republicans who last year refused to even consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nomination of appellate judge Merrick Garland to fill the same high court vacancy that Trump has selected Gorsuch to fill.