Will Democrats Filibuster the Gorsuch Nomination?

The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch have been quite boring by typical standards --- and Democrats have been unable to land a punch. Gorsuch has been unflappable, providing zero ammunition for the opposition. Friday on radio, Glenn talked with Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute and founder of, about the Democrats plan to filibuster the confirmation. Are they bluffing or will they pull it off? Most importantly, what impact, if any, will it have on Gorsuch becoming the next Supreme Court Justice?

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Kelly Shackelford who is at the liberty institute fighting for religious freedom and really one of the guys on the front lines and has developed just so people can pay attention and see everything about Gorsuch, watch the hearings, and read all the important facts that you might need to know to make a decision. Kelly Shackelford, welcome to the program. How are you?

KELLY: Good, Glenn, thanks for having me.

GLENN: This has been a really quite uninteresting hearing week. I mean, it's been good. Unflappable. But "FOX 11 News" fireworks until we found out yesterday from Chuck Schumer that he was not groomed by the Federalist Society. And he hasn't shown any daylight between them. And he's an extremist. Am I hearing Schumer right that he's saying the Democrats are going to filibuster?

KELLY: That's what everybody's reporting. That's what he said. But I have a hard time believing that. We'll see. It will be an incredibly foolish move. You've got Gorsuch here, as you said they couldn't land a punch on at all. And they've got to make him extreme. I mean, to filibuster, you know, they try to filibuster Alito and got 25 votes and Alito had statements against Roe v. Wade. They have nothing really on Gorsuch. He's about three -- almost 3,000 opinions, 2700 or so that he was a part of. And this is the thing, Glenn, this is so funny when you look at this. 97 percent of his opinions were unanimous. 99 percent he was in the majority.

So it's hard to make him into something crazy. And yet that's where they would want to fight and die over the filibuster. Because if they do, I think the odds are great that even the moderate Republicans say here reed took out on the lower court judges, we're going to take them out on the Supreme Court. There's no reason to have this filibuster anymore.

GLENN: Is there any reason, is there anything that gives you any doubt that Gorsuch gets in, and he's John Roberts? He -- you know, when it comes down to it, he screws us in the end?

KELLY: Well, you just never know with anybody because they can be the right person, have the right opinions, have the right philosophy. But then when push comes to shove, do they have courage? Do they have courage to do the right thing when the pressure's on? And that's tremendous pressure. Like, if we're talking about overturning Roe v. Wade or something like that, if you get the numbers where that's the case and that's the vote. Obviously, with his whole life work of originalism and his opinions and everything, he gets an opinion, and he says this isn't in the constitution, that's what he's going to say. Absent like you say John Roberts.

I know a couple of people -- I say a couple. There were people that were concerned about what he said on the last day, which was that the opinion, same-sex marriage opinion was settled law. And a lot of people say whoa. He admitted it's settled law. And I just didn't take that as something huge. He's a Court of Appeals judge. For him, it was settled law. I mean, he had to follow it because it was a higher court. That doesn't mean that, you know, everything that's already decided on settled law now that when he got a new case with facts and allowed him to analyze it with a proper judicial approach that he wouldn't have a different opinion. So we won't know until we see. He's got the philosophy, the approach of Scalia and the conservatives on the court.

I do think, the first part of your question, Glenn, I do just he's going to be on the court. They're having a vote on April 3rd, and then will go -- I think the idea is for them to get that out of committee and then have a vote on the floor of the senate and then be done on the recess of April 7th. So I think it's highly likely by April 7th, he's going to be justice Gorsuch. We'll see, but that looks like the schedule. And the only question is what you're asking about. Are they going to filibuster? And if they do, I think all they're doing is ending the filibuster, which politically would not be smart because the next battle is probably going to be even more ferocious because it's really about the control of the court.

GLENN: And that's the one where a lot of people will really care.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That's the one where they'll be able to ratchet it up because you're going to lose a liberal on the court. And so all of the TV, you know, spots and everything else. And if they get rid of the filibuster then, it will look very unfair and everything else. If they filibuster now and the Republicans are, like, fine. We're just -- you nuked us before. We nuke you. We don't need this anymore. We're just moving forward, nobody will really care at this point. But they'll have a chance to that being real fire against the Republicans the next time.

KELLY: I agree. That's why it really doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, the only rationale for this is that the base is so extreme and that people like Schumer feel like they have to placate their base that they're doing things even incredibly foolish.

We're assuming something. We're assuming that 52 -- at least 50 Republicans will hold strong and say "Well, this is so outrageous that of course we're going to end this filibuster." And Harry Reid ended on all of these other things anyway. We're assuming that will happen.

Sometimes we get surprised by the Republicans and what they do, so we'll have to wait and see.

GLENN: Tell me what the Federalist Society is and what you know about it.

KELLY: It's conservative and really what they do is hold meetings all over the country with lawyers, really the top lawyers or the top judges around the country, and they bring them in, and there's always two sides. They always have two of the top intellectuals or four of the top intellectuals debating whatever very mundane but particular constitutional or statutory or legal issue and sort of -- it's somewhat of a meeting where people gather, they hear intellectual discourse from two opposite sides and, you know, it's considered the more conservative one because they're actually fair. There's a liberal one that doesn't do the same thing, but it's considered the conservative one. And because of that, I think usually if they're national meetings, they have one big national meeting amongst local ones around the country, usually four or five of the Supreme Court justices, the more conservative ones will show up and speak at those as well.

GLENN: Right but they meet in secret, and they're all wearing cowls; right?

KELLY: No, it's all public. People can come. They don't ask you what your beliefs are. It's nothing like that. It's really a group that values, you know, things like what is the law? What does the constitution say? And, again, they're very fair in that they always have a equal number of people on each side in these debates because they want to learn what the thoughts are. What the arguments are. But as a result of actually trying what the law is, it's more conservative.

STU: How do you think Neil Gorsuch would rule on Glenn Beck having Coca-Cola and M&Ms for breakfast today? Wee approve of that?

GLENN: I don't know what that has anything to do. Just talking about a group of people who take a boat, fill it with golden babies, send it across the pond and offer it to the owl god.

STU: I don't know how you got exactly there.

GLENN: I don't know how you got to the other.

STU: What others think of that choice.

GLENN: Kelly, god bless. Thank you so much. Kelly Shackelford. Go to


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