Leader in the fight against DeVos, joiner in the fight against Judge Gorsuch.
Leader in the fight against DeVos, joiner in the fight against Judge Gorsuch. SENATE.GOV

For the last two weeks, Senator Patty Murray has been busy trying to delay the nomination process of Betsy DeVos and Tom Price, two key members of Trump's proposed cabinet of incompetents. In the midst of the chaos, Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his SCOTUS pick. Referencing the Republican obstruction of Obama's SCOTUS nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) came right out and said Republican senators stole the seat and are trying to fill it with an "illegitimate and extreme nominee," adding that he'll "do everything in his power to stand up against this assault on the Court." Senator Elizabeth Warren backed him up, saying she'd block Gorsuch as well. Murray's response was that she had "serious concerns about moving forward" with his nomination.

An aide says Murray is willing to "join with those who plan to exercise their right to filibuster to stop [the appointment of Gorsuch]. And she would certainly object to consent being given to move this nomination."

Murray is a senior Democrat, and her commitment to using the filibuster adds serious muscle to the fight against Gorsuch, a baby Scalia who's opposed to consumer safety regulations, interested in allowing bosses to deny their employees access to birth control, and cool with police using excessive force when a suspect is fleeing the scene of a non-violent crime.

Good for Murray. If Democrats aren't willing to use the filibuster to stop a stolen seat from being filled—a seat that would give conservatives power over all three branches of government—then what would they use it on? What piece of legislation is more serious than that, except, maybe, for an executive order that excludes people who live in a war torn country from immigrating to the United States based purely on their nationality, an action that flies in the face of core American values, general decency, and common sense?

Sure, yesterday, Trump told Senator Mitch McConnell to "go nuclear" on the filibuster. The only person who makes me doubt McConnell will explode the filibuster the second he can is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for the Washington Post.

Thursday morning on Democracy Now, Grim suggested that McConnell loses power relative to Trump if he “goes nuclear:”

He doesn’t necessarily want the 60-vote threshold to come down, because, kind of paradoxically, he loses power relative to Donald Trump then, because if Mitch McConnell can tell Donald Trump, "Look, I would love to do your infrastructure project, but I just don’t have 60 votes," then there isn’t a whole lot Donald Trump can do except push on Twitter and in speeches and in rallies for the nuclear option.

Other than fear for loss of power, I can't imagine a world where McConnell doesn't destroy the filibuster the second he can, so the only thing that matters is which hill Democrats want it to die on. Protecting a stolen seat seems like a good enough hill.

It would have been nice if Murray came out harder against Trump's SCOTUS pick, but she has been busy, and her fight against DeVos has helped to expose the education secretary nominee as a bear-wary Republican stooge who is unfamiliar with major conversations going on in the department she's meant to lead.

In fact, this morning, Senator Murray was on the senate floor talking about DeVos's lack of experience:

Partly as a result of Murray's leadership and partly as a result of constituents flooding the phone lines of their representatives, DeVos's nomination is now considered tenuous. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) plan to vote NO on DeVos, and think people everywhere are looking for one more Republican to join the fight to save public schools from being privatized.

I'll just take a moment here to say: call everybody you know in Pennsylvania and Nebraska. Tell the Pennsylvanians to call Senator Pat Toomey ([610] 434-1444) and ask him to vote NO on DeVos. Tell the Nebraskans to call Senator Deb Fischer ([402] 441-4600) and ask her to vote NO on DeVos. Tell them vouchers are no good for their rural students, who have to drive long miles just to get to a public school, let alone some private school that doesn't exist yet.

Washington State's other senator, Maria Cantwell, who is up for re-election in 2018, has not committed to filibustering Gorsuch. In a statement released Tuesday, she says she'll "review Judge Gorsuch’s record thoroughly, follow his nomination hearings closely, and...plan to meet with him to ask [her] own questions." She adds that she "will be weighing these considerations along with the comments of my constituents as I consider this nomination.”

I e-mailed her spokesperson on Wednesday to ask if Cantwell would filibuster Gorsuch. I'll update this post when I hear back.