Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) announced Monday he would vote to confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, opposing his party's efforts to filibuster. Per current Senate rules, Gorsuch needs 60 votes to be confirmed, which he cannot reach without eight Democratic votes. Democrats in the upper chamber are attempting to block Gorsuch by refusing to provide those votes; Republicans have indicated they would invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to kill the filibuster and allow Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple-majority if Democrats do not play ball.
"I don't think it's wise for our party to filibuster this nominee or for Republicans to invoke the nuclear option," Bennet said in an interview with The Colorado Independent. Bennet acknowledged Gorsuch's judicial philosophy is "very conservative," but said he was voting to confirm Gorsuch in order to preserve the filibuster for future Trump nominees. "Trump might get two more nominees in his first term as president," Bennet said. "Having a 51-vote threshold guarantees that you're going to have far more extreme nominees."
That said, Bennet indicated if Republicans do kill the filibuster, "all bets are off" and he could vote to oppose Gorsuch in a simple up-or-down vote. "It's gut-check time now," Bennet said. "Are Democrats really going to filibuster the nominee? Are Republicans really going to use the nuclear option?"
Democrats are one vote away from successfully filibustering. Bennet hails from Colorado, as does Gorsuch, who is "strongly supported by the downtown [Colorado] legal and business establishment" that also usually backs Bennet, The Colorado Independent notes. You can read Bennet's official statement on the decision below, or his interview with The Colorado Independent here. Kimberly Alters