Progressive groups demand a filibuster against Trump's Supreme Court pick

Several senators have already spoken out against Neil Gorsuch.

While the majority of Democrats are expected to oppose Gorsuch's confirmation, there has been palpable frustration among progressive activists that more Democratic senators have not yet publicly declared which way they intend to vote. Progressives wanted commitments even before questioning of Gorsuch is completed.

"We're not hearing from enough of the Democratic senators that they will fight this nomination with everything they have. We need them to understand that simply stating their opposition to Neil Gorsuch is not enough," NARAL President Ilyse Hogue wrote in an email to the group's list that went out this morning. "We need Senate Democrats to filibuster this nomination and demand a nominee who represents the mainstream values of our country."

In 2013, when Democrats were in the majority in the Senate, they changed the chamber's rules so that federal judges could be confirmed with a simple majority vote, but they maintained the long-standing requirement that Supreme Court picks need at least 60 votes to end a filibuster and move their confirmation forward.

In order to get those 60 votes, Gorsuch will need at least eight Democrats to vote with Republicans, assuming all Republicans back him. But because the vote with the 60-vote threshold is technically a procedural vote, some Democrats may be tempted to vote in favor of him as a compromise and not risk being labeled obstructionist.

Progressive groups are quick to point out Gorsuch's conservative record on social issues, including his high-profile ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, in which he sided with a religious employers in their case against a Obama-era mandate to provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans. Other Democrats would rather focus on what they say is Gorsuch's record of backing Big Business over workers' rights.

All the witnesses that Schumer took to the Hill last week were plaintiffs in cases in which Gorsuch sided with employers over employees.