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Senate Democrats Have Few Options To Stop Confirmation Of Supreme Court Nominee


And we're joined now by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson at the White House. Hi, Mara.


SHAPIRO: So I want to ask you about what we just heard from Senator Hirono that Democrats' role is perhaps to raise awareness even if they can't block this confirmation. Does that seem like the state of play to you?

LIASSON: I think so because it's so difficult for Democrats just because of the math to stop this nomination. They'd have to hold all their Democrats and pick off one or two Republicans, and they're in danger of losing some of their red state Democrats who are up for re-election this year. You just heard Senator Hirono say she wouldn't presume to tell those senators from red states how they should vote. Three of them of course voted for Neil Gorsuch.

But I do think the Democrats are finally beginning to see this as a very long game. It's the kind of long game that Republicans played for a generation. They focused on the court. They built up institutions like The Federalist Society who tracked brilliant, young, conservative law students, got them clerkships, followed their careers, created lists. This is something the Democrats haven't done, but they want their own voters to now understand why the court is so important. That's something the Democratic voters haven't focused on before. Republican voters have always understood that more is at stake than whether or not you like or dislike the presidential candidate. That's why they were willing to swallow their misgivings...

SHAPIRO: About President Trump.

LIASSON: ...About President Trump.

SHAPIRO: Right. There's always been this big divide where Democratic voters seem to care less about judicial nominations than Republican voters. Do you think this could be the Supreme Court fight that changes that?

LIASSON: If this doesn't change it, I don't know what will. I do think that's why you heard Senator Hirono talking about pre-existing conditions. Both Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have both focused on this issue, not Roe v. Wade. Manchin talks about 800,000 in...


LIASSON: ...West Virginia with pre-existing conditions. This is something they think their voters can understand. It makes the Supreme Court fight more personal.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Mara Liasson, thank you.

LIASSON: Thank you.


Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.
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