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Top Senate Dem warns Trump on Supreme Court pick

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat in the Senate is warning President-elect Donald Trump about his eventual Supreme Court choice: Name a "mainstream" nominee or Democrats will oppose the individual "with everything we have."

"My worry is, with the hard right running the show, that the likelihood of the nominee being mainstream is decreasing every day," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday in an interview.

Schumer made the comments a day after saying on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" that Democrats will "absolutely" do their best to keep the Supreme Court seat open if Trump doesn't nominate someone whom Democrats could support.

The seat has been vacant for 11 months since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked consideration of President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, saying the next president should make the pick. The strategy paid off, and the Republican Senate will consider whomever Trump nominates.

With the prospect of a Republican president making the choice, McConnell pushed back on Schumer's comments about leaving the seat vacant.

"There's apparently a new standard now, which is to not confirm a Supreme Court nominee, at all," the GOP senator told reporters, adding it's "something the American people will not tolerate."