Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated Tuesday that Senate Democrats could decide to move the threshold for confirming a Supreme Court justice back to 60 votes, instead of today’s simple majority, if Democrats retake the majority in November.
When asked by a reporter Tuesday if Democrats might make that change, the New York Democrat said his conference would “have to look at that.”
“The bottom line is that the Republican leader moved it down … and the bottom line is that we’ll have to look at that should we get back into the majority,” Schumer said during his weekly press conference.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., changed the rules in 2017 to allow Justice Neil Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees to advance to a final vote with a 51-vote majority, instead of the 60-vote supermajority that had been in place.
McConnell’s move came four years after then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lowered the same cloture threshold for lower court nominees to 51 votes, known as the “nuclear option,” in order to bypass a GOP blockade on nominees.
Schumer said he was optimistic that all Democrats will remain opposed to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court, although a couple of red-state members remain open to supporting him.
“Let’s not forget where so many of us objected to Judge Kavanaugh, what many of the Democrats are looking at,” Schumer said. “1.) Will he protect women’s health? 2.) Will he make sure that pre-existings in healthcare is preserved, and 3.) will he serve as a check and balance to a president who often overreaches. If people are convinced on any of those three, I believe that we will have a bipartisan majority to defeat Judge Kavanaugh.”