That interpretation was reversed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday and it became a topic of questioning by Democrats in Gorsuch's hearing. But his decision to support the filibuster of Gorsuch is significant.
The Senate's top Democrat promised to deal a critical blow to the confirmation process of President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, saying Democrats will invoke a filibuster, forcing Republicans to garner at least 60 votes to end debate in the Senate before he can be confirmed. But with Schumer essentially assuring the GOP that his party will enact a filibuster, which requires 60 votes to break, that now seems to be a pipe dream.
"After considering his nomination seriously and without pre-judgement, and mindful of the awesome responsibility of passing judgement on nominees to the highest court in the nation, I do not believe Judge Gorsuch's judicial approach will ensure fairness for workers and families in Pennsylvania", Casey said in a lengthy explanatory essay posted to the Internet.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called Schumer's remarks "truly disappointing" and urged him to abandon the filibuster threat, saying it was the type of partisanship Americans have grown exhausted of.
Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of OH and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, two other Rust Belt states carried by Trump, have also said they will filibuster Gorsuch's nomination. "But I just don't think that's what a life in the law is about".
The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of NY, was among five senators to declare their opposition to Gorsuch Thursday, even before the Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination had ended.
Another, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, opposes the nomination, a spokesman said. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he is open to voting for him. Sens. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) have said they will block the nomination, but other Democratic senators, such as the aforementioned Sen. He is not up for re-election next year and his state voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
"If this nominee can not earn 60 votes-a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees, and George Bush's last two nominees-the answer isn't to change the rules".
One avenue for McConnell would be the so-called "nuclear option" - an attempt to change the rules to bar filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.
Schumer said Gorsuch favors the "powerful over the weak" and would not check President Trump's agenda.
During the hearings, Democrats deployed a number of strategies, starting with the complaint that the Supreme Court seat should already be filled by Judge Merrick Garland. Featuring 12 witnesses supporting the 10th Circuit judge and 12 opposing him, the day gave Democrats the chance to land final blows against the nominee before votes begins on April 3.