The Democrats have decided to filibuster the nomination by President Trump of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. There never has been the use of a filibuster to block a Supreme Court nomination in our nation’s history except for the case of LBJ who nominated Justice Abe Fortas, former Johnson mouthpiece, to be the Chief Justice in 1968. His nomination fell to a bipartisan filibuster after it became known that Fortas, while on the Court, served as a Johnson adviser and, in effect, as an unofficial member of Johnson’s cabinet. It didn’t help that, as in the case of the man who nominated him, Fortas was suspected of being a crook, a suspicion which was proved in 1969 when public outcry forced Fortas to resign from the Supreme Court.
The filibuster is a creature of the Senate rules, and like any rule in the Senate may be changed by simple majority vote. Ridding the Senate of the filibuster is called the nuclear option. The Senate went nuclear on November 21, 2013 when former Majority Leader Harry Reid, tiring of Republicans filibustering Obama’s lower court nominees, as the Democrats had the lower court nominees of Bush, pulled the nuclear trigger on November 21, 2013 to get rid of the filibuster in regard to lower court appointees.