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Bernie Sanders: We’re Filibustering Gorsuch but It’s Not a Filibuster

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) explicitly detailed a plan to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court on State of the Union Sunday, but said that Democrats’ plans were not a filibuster.

Host Dana Bash confronted Sanders, “It sounds like a ‘yes,’ you’re for a filibuster.”

“It’s not a question of filibuster, I am for the Republicans obeying the rules that currently exist and for not changing those rules,” Sanders said. “And the rules right now, for good reasons, are 60 votes.”

A startled Bash then explained that “the rules do allow for a filibuster for the Supreme Court nomination, but it certainly doesn’t require Democrats to use that.”

“You’re using the word ‘filibuster,'” Sanders said, trying to challenge Bash.

“Because that’s what it is!” Bash exclaimed in frustration.

Sanders, undaunted by facts, argued: “No it is not. There will be a vote. If he doesn’t get 60 votes, he does not become Supreme Court justice.”

Sanders was referencing a vote on cloture, requiring 60 votes to end debate on a measure. If Democrats refuse to grant those 60 votes, they would then filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination.

Two current justices on the Supreme Court recieved less than 60 votes for their confirmation. The Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas 52-48 and confirmed Samuel Alito 58-42.