The Democratic Party simply isn’t in a position to stop this conservative takeover of the Supreme Court without the filibuster, and even with the filibuster rule in place the Democratic leadership has shown little to no inclination to fight. Furthermore, the Senate Democratic caucus right now includes several members running for re-election in Trump-won states — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and more — who can hardly be counted on for a bare-knuckle fight. Even if Chuck Schumer decided to die on this hill, he’d face defections from the likes of Doug Jones.
What little Senate Democrats can do is delay — not stop — the impending confirmation process. Tony Madonna, professor of political science and expert on arcane Senate rules and procedures, says the party can use “objections to unanimous consent or the two-hour rule, delaying tactics in committee, and possibly a disappearing quorum” to slow the process down, but that none of these tactics amount to a silver bullet. “Obstructing the president’s nominee depends on having either the Senate majority or the filibuster,” Madonna says, “and right now the Democrats have neither,” since the Republican majority eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court picks during the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch.