Filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore took to Twitter Tuesday morning to warn Senate Democrats that, should they fail to filibuster and block Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, they will face a revolt by progressive voters and be voted out of office in the 2018 midterm elections.
Trump announced his nomination of Gorsuch Monday night, and was met with immediate protests on the steps of the Supreme Court from activists who allege that Gorsuch has what they see as a troubling history of an anti-abortion and pro-religious liberty rulings.
The Blaze reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) even went so far as to suggest that Gorsuch "has come out against 'clean air, clean water, food safety, safety in medicine, and the rest,' and finished by saying he would be harmful for your children."
However, many of the most strident objections to Gorsuch seem to be less about the merits of the man himself, and more about blocking him as payback for the Republican-led Senate's refusal to vote on Merrick Garland, Barack Obama's choice to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“This is a stolen seat,” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) was reported to have said. “This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a president of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.”
“The Democrats should treat Trump’s SCOTUS pick with the exact same courtesy the GOP showed Merrick Garland,” Dan Pfeiffer wrote on Twitter. “Don’t flinch, don’t back down.” Pfeiffer is a former senior adviser to Obama.
The warning issued by Moore is a harbinger of the division that is brewing within the Democrat party. Many Democrat leaders are weighing just how much pushback they're comfortable leveraging on the Gorsuch pick, preferring to instead consider "delaying that battle for a future nomination that could shift the ideological balance of the court," according to CNN.
Progressive activists are demanding a more aggressive approach and have begun highlighting some of Gorsuch’s record as a judge, including his ruling in favor of employers, including Hobby Lobby, who cited religious objections in refusing to provide some forms of birth control to female workers, according to The New York Times.
Moore is demanding that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who has already been the victim of protests outside his New York apartment, use the filibuster to block Gorsuch's nomination. This would require 60 votes in the Senate to confirm Gorsuch. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, and would require 8 Democrat votes in the event of the filibuster, but could employ what's known as the "nuclear option" and rewrite the Senate rules to allow a confirmation with 51 votes.
The revolt Moore is suggesting could, if successful, look something like the conservative "Tea Party" revolt of 2010, when conservative constituencies, angry at elected GOP officials for not implementing the policies they said the voters wanted, organized and voted out many GOP leaders in Congress.