Senate Democrats are confident that whomever President Biden picks as his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will receive enough votes to get confirmed, according to senior Democratic sources.
That’s because of both the math and the history. Since Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through a change in filibuster rules in 2017, it just requires a party-line, simple majority vote to advance a Supreme Court nominee.
In the 50-50 Senate, all Democrats need to stay united with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has a long history of deferring to Presidents who make picks to the federal bench and the executive branch — backing two of three of then-President Trump’s choices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. He opposed Amy Coney Barrett because her confirmation vote was too close to the 2020 election.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, another key Democratic moderate, has also sided with Biden on nominations.
And there’s a strong likelihood that Biden could win over some key GOP swing votes, such as Sen. Susan Collins, who voted for then-President Obama’s choices of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Sen. Lindsey Graham did as well. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who faces a Trump-inspired GOP challenger this year, also voted against Kavanaugh.
Of course, once the nomination is made and the vetting process occurs, the dynamics can certainly change.