When President Donald Trump nominates a Supreme Court justice tonight, Senate Democrats and Republicans will immediately face intense political pressure. Liberals are demanding that Democrats block the choice and the new president will urge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to blow up longstanding rules to secure confirmation, the Associated Press reports. Federal appeals court judges William Pryor, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman are front-runners to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Some give Hardiman the edge because he sits on the bench with Trump’s sister.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says Democrats will oppose any nominee outside the mainstream. He will likely decide whether to try to lead an effort to block, or filibuster, based on the nominee’s performance in confirmation hearings and feedback from his Democratic caucus, including the 10 senators who are up for re-election in states that Trump won last year. Any senator can move to block a Supreme Court nomination. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, sent out a fundraising email that asked people to sign a petition saying “the Senate must oppose” Trump’s nominee. The advantages of trying a filibuster are clear — make Republicans work to find the 60 votes needed to end it, including at least eight Democrats, and as a result, delay or block the nomination. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority.