WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Wolf Blitzer on CNN following the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
“I said I will vote against cloture unless the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate can somehow find an agreement that is trustworthy and reliable where on the next Supreme Court nominee they won't change the rules and we will have input and a more confirmable consensus nominee will be put in front of the Senate. I'm not saying that I am insisting that we force the Republican majority to break the rules. That's a choice they're going to have to make. The Republican majority is going to have to decide now how they will act in response to Democrats saying we're not ready to vote for cloture. We need to see if there is still any hope, any way, that they will back off the nuclear option in exchange for some understanding about how they will handle the next nominee.”
Additional excerpts from the interview are below:
“As you may have heard in another point in the hearings this morning, in the Judiciary Committee markup, Senator Cornyn of Texas very pointedly said that there has never been a partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in Senate history. In my remarks, I said if seven months of preventing Judge Merrick Garland from getting a hearing and a vote is anything, it is the longest and most successful partisan filibuster in Senate history. In the end of my remarks at the Committee today, I also remarked that what cloture means, we will be taking a cloture vote this Thursday, what that means is we are done debating; that 60 members of the Senate agree that we're ready for the final vote. I said to be clear that I am not yet ready for us to be done debating and for us to get to the final vote. So I will vote against cloture on Thursday.”
“I'm saying we need to begin that conversation. Now that it's clear there are 41 Democrats willing and ready to vote against cloture, we have to have a conversation about how we got here and where we're going. I'm very skeptical, very skeptical given just how much distrust and disagreement there is. How much what's happened to Judge Garland and now happening to Judge Gorsuch has divided our parties. Quite skeptical we can come to any sort of an understanding. But I wanted to be clear that what I said in hearing today if you run my entire quote was I'm going to vote against cloture unless there's some path forward between Republicans and Democrats that we can trust that allows us to have confidence they will not change the rules on the next confirmation. “
Full audio and video available here.