Bob Casey

Eight Is Enough: Trump’s Tough Search for Gorsuch Democrats
‘Deep red five’ and others targeted to vote to break coming SCOTUS filibuster

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump’s first quest for a Hard Eight began long before Neil Gorsuch’s two days as a Senate witness made it as easy as it’s ever going to be for the president to win his first big judicial bet. 

That’s still not going to be that easy.

Guest List: Who Members of Congress Are Taking to Trump’s Address
President to make first speech to joint session of Congress on Tuesday

The guest lists are out for President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump will hold his first joint session address to Congress on Tuesday and every member is able to bring a guest to sit in the gallery.

Oftentimes, those invited are a part of what is driving the news of the day.

Tennessee, Texas Stand Out for Strengthened Hill Sway
In Roll Call’s Clout Index for this Congress, California delegation’s longtime hold on top spot is threatened

Party affiliation and longevity have helped propel members of the Tennessee delegation such as Sen. Bob Corker into positions that convey authority and power, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No state in this decade has seen a more meaningful boost than Tennessee in institutionalized congressional influence.

Only eight states, all with much bigger delegations because they’re much more populous, have more overt sway at the Capitol this year. That is one of several notable findings from the new Roll Call Clout Index, which the newspaper uses to take a quantifiable measurement of every state’s potential for power at the start of each new Congress.  

Word on the Hill: Last Week of Black History Month
Tim Scott goes to a museum with Donald Trump

The Museum of African American History and Culture is a great place to celebrate Black History Month in D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As February comes to an end, so does Black History Month.

D.C.’s free film festival to celebrate the month is on Sunday, hosted by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office on African American Affairs and actor Lamman Rucker at Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St. NW) from 2 to 10 p.m.

Democrats in a Dilemma Over Trump's Court Nominee
Senate Democrats will get a lot of advice about how to handle President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court — and it appears they need it.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court Justice nominee, meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s pressure from liberal advocacy groups and the party’s energized base for Democrats to pull out all the stops in an attempt to block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Not only do those interests have concerns about his approach to abortion rights and environmental law, but they thirst for revenge for Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat.

Some moderate legal and political commentators, meanwhile, have urged Democrats to wait for another potential Supreme Court nominee to launch an all-out confirmation war — a possibility during the Trump administration since two justices are in their 80s. Gorsuch would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, so his elevation from a federal appeals court in Denver wouldn’t shift the ideological balance of the high court anyway.

Democrats Back #LetLizSpeak Campaign
Warren's colleagues show they can use Twitter, too

Democrats like Schumer have joined in on Twitter’s #LetLizSpeak campaign to protest Republicans’ shutting down Warren’s speech about Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are taking up the #LetLizSpeak Twitter campaign backing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for her floor speech against attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions that Republicans cut off Tuesday night. 

Warren was reading a letter the late Coretta Scott King wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 opposing Sessions’ confirmation to be a federal district court judge as well as quoting statements from the late Sen. Edward Kennedy from that time. King’s letter said, among other thing, “Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

Democrats Make All Night Push, But Won’t Derail DeVos’ Nomination
The president's nominee for Education secretary will get a vote midday Tuesday

Betsy DeVos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Betsy DeVos is expected to be narrowly confirmed as Education secretary on Tuesday after a contentious process in which Democrats sought the one more vote they need to sink her nomination. A final vote is expected at midday.

While DeVos was expected to squeak by in the Senate, Democrats continued their last-minute push to find a Republican who would join Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in breaking ranks with their party to vote against the confirmation.

Democratic Class of 2018 Key to Gorsuch Supreme Court Fight
Manchin the first Democrat to meet Trump’s nominee

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, right, meets in his office with President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Joe Manchin III on Wednesday became the first Democrat to meet with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, as Republicans began the long quest for Democratic votes for the conservative judge from Colorado.

When asked if Gorsuch should need 60 senators to support his confirmation, as he would if Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and other Democrats follow through on a filibuster threat, Manchin said nominees should always need bipartisan backing, including for the president’s Cabinet and lower courts.

The Incredible Shrinking Split Tickets
Midterm campaign field starts with just 35 crossover House districts

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican up for re-election in 2018 in a state not carried by Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the latest evidence of the nation’s polarized politics, the granular returns from November offer these slivers of bright purple insight:

Voters in just 35 congressional districts, or 8 percent of the total, elected a House member from one party while preferring the presidential candidate of the other party — the second election in a row where the share of ticket-splitting seats was in the single digits. Before that, 1920 was the last time the number of such crossover districts fell below one out of every nine.

Confirmation Hearings Bring Out the Senate Angst
McConnell said to expect votes on Cabinet nominations Friday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will return on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and JASON DICKCQ Roll Call

The Senate eased into inauguration week with a pair of confirmation hearings, with committees taking up the cases for, or against, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Interior secretary and Betsy DeVos to be Education secretary.