When Supreme Court Justice #Antonin Scalia passed away last year President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace him. The Republican majority in the Senate then refused to even consider the nomination as the presidential election was eminent and thus began one of the longest periods with a vacancy in the SCOTUSt in the history of the country. The Republican Party is now facing the inevitable consequence of that decision.

Gorsuch

One of the matters that newly elected President #Donald Trump faced was to find a replacement for Antonin Scalia that would bring a new conservative voice into the still evenly divided Supreme Court.

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In a show business style announcement the President named a judge of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Neil Gorsuch of Colorado, as his nominee for the highest bench in the land. This choice pleased the Republicans as it would have ensured that the Scalia Originalist legacy would continue in the Court and for the same reason dismayed the Democrats.

Confirmation

At the beginning of the confirmation hearings the Democrats mentioned the failure of the previous Senate to consider Garland yet in their minds the battle was once more on numbers as the Republican majority is now of only one and thus hoped to sway doubtful Republicans to delay the confirmation of the nominee.

As the hearings proceeded it became obvious that the Judge Gorsuch would fill all the qualities the GOP sought for a more conservative Supreme Court.

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For this reason a number of Democrat Senators including Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Cry Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that they would vote no to the confirmation.

On Thursday Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he too would vote against the confirmation and that the Senate Democrats would demand that the confirmation would require 60 votes in line with the latest approvals to the court.

Russia

The game of numbers is only one part of the tactics by the Democrats. The threat of a filibuster to delay the vote is one of keeping the issue alive as long as possible in the hope of dramatic developments in other parts of Washington.

Just as the Republicans delayed the Garland nomination for the presidential election the Democrats are hoping that developments in the investigations on collusion between the Trump team and Russian agents during the campaign and transition period may provide ammunition for even more drastic tactics.

While this may well be a long shot, the discrediting of the President would be enough to delay if not annul any decisions made by the Trump White House.

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Many Republicans such as Senator John McCain have already expressed their unease at the allegations and any new disconcerting revelations could be enough for them to withdraw their approval of the nominations or legislation in anticipation of developments.

Tied vote

For now the Supreme Court is evenly divided between conservative and liberal Justices. Whoever will be nominated to fill the vacancy will break this tie and the result will have effect on the decisions made by the Court in any controversial issues, possibly beginning with the appeal against the blocking of the executive orders for a Moslem ban.

The next few days will decide if the Republicans will use strong arm tactics to break the threatened impasse or if, like the House with the repeal and replacement of the ACA, Donald Trump will once more find himself in a so far losing battle of numbers. #Donald Trump