Dem opposition to Trump court pick grows


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Senate Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee swelled Friday as Democrats neared the numbers needed for a filibuster, setting up a showdown with Republicans who have the votes to confirm Neil Gorsuch.

Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Brian Schatz of Hawaii became the latest Democratic senators to announce their opposition to Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals court judge in Denver whose conservative rulings make him an intellectual heir to the justice he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia.

McCaskill said she’s opposing the federal appeals court judge because his opinions favor corporations over workers, and he’s shown “a stunning lack of humanity” in some of those decisions.

She also criticized Trump in her statement announcing her opposition, saying “the president who promised working people he would lift them up has nominated a judge who can’t even see them.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Republicans against changing Senate rules, which could prove momentous for the chamber and would allow all future Supreme Court nominees to get on the court regardless of opposition from the minority party. He says President Donald Trump should just pick a new nominee if Gorsuch is blocked.

Blumenthal, a Senate Judiciary Committee member who questioned Gorsuch on judicial independence in last week’s hearings, complained the judge didn’t give straightforward responses.

There are now at least 36 Senate Democrats who oppose Gorsuch and have pledged to block him with a filibuster, just five shy of the number that would be required to mount a filibuster. All of the Senate’s 52 Republicans are expected to support him. The vote is expected next week.

Republicans are furious at the Democrats’ plans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to respond to a Democratic filibuster by unilaterally changing Senate rules to lower the threshold for Supreme Court justices from 60 votes to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

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