- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Democrats have already decided they will force a filibuster on Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday, just minutes after President Trump announced the pick.

“The Senate must insist upon 60-votes for any Supreme Court nominee,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement.

Republicans could counter with the so-called “nuclear option,” using a shortcut to change the rules and eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold. But GOP leaders have been circumspect on that option.

Mr. Schumer’s announcement, though, should kick-start the nuclear debate.

“The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans,” Mr. Schumer said.

Democrats broke new ground in 2006 when they attempted a partisan filibuster against Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. That attempt failed, and the GOP did not attempt filibusters of either of President Obama’s nominees.

SEE ALSO: Neil Gorsuch nominated to Supreme Court by Donald Trump

Republicans said they thought they’d reset the standard with their treatment of Mr. Obama’s picks.

But Mr. Schumer said each of Mr. Obama’s nominees topped the 60-vote mark anyway, and so it makes sense to require Judge Gorsuch to reach that threshold too.

Some of his own troops are wary of that fight, fearing too much partisanship too early in Mr. Trump’s tenure.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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