President Donald Trump has yet to announce his Supreme Court nominee, but Senate Democrats are already plotting to filibuster anyone not named Merrick Garland. "We will use every lever in our power to stop this," vowed Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to Politico. "A very large number of my colleagues will be opposed."
By the current rules, Trump's nominee will need at least 60 votes to be confirmed. The Senate is made up of 52 Republican senators, 46 Democratic senators, and two left-leaning Independent senators. Democrats view a filibuster as payback for former President Barack Obama's "stolen" Supreme Court seat. Republicans refused a hearing for Obama's nominee, Garland, before Obama left office earlier this month.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also vowed to fight "tooth and nail" against any of Trump's nominees that aren't "mainstream."
Senate rules can theoretically be changed by the Republican majority to allow Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened Democrats against trying any tricks: "We're going to get this nominee confirmed. I hope he or she will be confirmed based upon the completely outstanding credentials that we're going to see," McConnell told Politico.