Sen. Chuck Schumer Unveiled the Democrats' Plan for the Supreme Court

January 22nd 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, vowed to fight newly inaugurated President Donald Trump and the Republican party to keep an empty Supreme Court seat vacant for the next four years if Democrats don't like the GOP nominee.

The political right of the United States — which now controls both the Congress and the White House — is in a prime position to nominate a conservative justice who could reverse rulings on same-sex marriage and abortion.

But not if Schumer has anything to do with it.

"If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open," Schumer told CNN's "State of the Union":

"I'm hopeful that maybe President Trump would nominate someone who is mainstream and who could get bipartisan support. We shall see. But, if they don't, yes, we will fight it tooth and nail, as long as we have to."

The implication is that Senate Democrats would filibuster to keep the Supreme Court seat empty, potentially for the next four years.

To break a filibuster, the 52 Republican senators would need to win over at least eight Senate Democrats or independents to initiate a cloture vote.

President Trump has previously said that he would appoint anti-choice judges whom he believed would overturn the landmark 1973 abortion case Roe v. Wade.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the legality of abortion would be adjudicated by the states. If abortion is outlawed as a result, it would likely return affected jurisdictions back to the time when illegal back-alley abortions led to the injury or death of women who were unable to get abortion services legally.

Schumer's hardline stance is fitting payback to the GOP-controlled Senate, which blocked President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia almost a year ago.

Garland's nomination never made it to the Senate floor for a vote because of opposition by GOP Senate leaders.

Garland has reportedly returned to work as a federal judge.

Prior to his nomination, Garland was lauded by Republicans for his moderate views.

The Supreme Court has had just eight justices since February 2016.