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Senate Goes 'Nuclear' as Nelson Takes a Stand Against Gorsuch

April 6, 2017 - 8:45pm

Florida’s U.S. senators have split over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting the stage for an explosive showdown between national Democrats and Republicans.

Florida’s senior democratic Sen. Bill Nelson joined a filibuster Thursday morning opposing Gorsuch.

The Senate ended the debate by a 55-45 vote in the morning. By the afternoon, Senate Republicans had crushed the filibuster, approving the “nuclear” rule change which would allow for a simple majority to confirm Gorsuch as the country’s next Supreme Court justice, requiring only 51 votes to advance Gorsuch’s nomination. 

The move doesn’t come as a surprise since Nelson said he would vote against Gorsuch’s confirmation last month.

“Deciding whether to confirm a president's nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee's hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind.”

Nelson went on to say some of Gorsuch’s positions, like allowing unlimited money in political campaigns, caused him grave concern and ultimately made him decide to vote against the Colorado appellate court judge’s confirmation.

Rubio, on the other hand, voted in favor of Gorsuch and in favor of taking the “nuclear” option to change the Senate rules.

Nelson’s actions didn’t go unnoticed. The National Republican Senatorial Committee was quick to pounce on Nelson’s attempt to block the vote on Gorsuch, saying his decision was wholly out of line with Floridians’ priorities.

“Bill Nelson blatantly disregarded the will of voters by attempting to block a vote on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” said NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin. “Floridians deserve a Senator who is unafraid to stand up to the obstructionist leadership of Chuck Schumer. Today, Nelson made it clear he’s not that guy.”

Meanwhile, in Florida, Trump urged his supporters to “Gather for Gorsuch” Thursday afternoon at the Florida Capitol to call on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to oppose a Democratic filibuster against Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The rally pushed for Nelson to change his mind and vote in favor of Gorsuch, but ultimately ended up being a fruitless endeavor. 

A full vote on Gorsuch’s nomination is scheduled to take place before noon on Friday. 



Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen



As a non party affiliated voter, I look for elected reps. Who do not follow strict party lines but look at things w common sense. I think the only ? Is about qaulification when these matters come up. I think Nelson should pay a price for following the extreme far left , which seems to b whole dem party, wo any real thinking. Dsnt make sense. I won't b voting for him bcse he is now a far left follower, instead of independent leader.

NELSON IS A GONER! Bill, please get a minor illness and miss the vote.

I enjoy reading through your websites. Thanks a ton!

Elections have consequences. That's what President Obama said as he leaned back and put his feet on an historic table belonging to the people. As opposed to when he chuckled and said "I guess we weren't as shovel ready as we thought" referring to the trillion he pissed away, a lot of it on solar nonsense. If solar made any sense private people would be doing it to make money. I think we should all thank one of the most obnoxious pondscum suckers of all time, Sen. Harry Ried, for making the nuclear option popular. Thanks be to a merciful God that we will have one more voice of sanity on the Supreme Court. Now if only Ruthie would to the right thing and retire.

I will be happy to stand AGAINST Nelson in Nov. 2018. He's there to determine if a nominee is qualified and will follow the Constitution. Not if his feelings, emotions, agenda agree with your's.

Gorsuch is a good, honorable judge. He would make a fine Supreme Court Justice. I do, however, agree with Nelson on 1 thing, money is destroying our country from a political standpoint. We will never return to a representative government, or gov't "for the people", until we get all of the bribe money on both sides out of politics...

Nelson is nuts if he's worried about campaign money. Hillary blew that theory outa the water! Keep trying, Bill.

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