Historic Senate Confrontation Teed up by Gorsuch Vote

Carla Harmon
April 1, 2017

Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is up for re-election in 2018 in a state President Donald Trump won by double digits, announced Friday that she'll vote against his Supreme Court nominee, appeals judge Neil Gorsuch.

Despite the support from Manchin and Heitkamp, Senate Democrats are still expected to mount a filibuster of Gorsuch's nomination.

FILE - In this March 22, 2017 file photo, Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gorsuch needs 60 votes, which means at least eight Democrats must support him. Schumer and other Democratic senators used the nuclear option to confirm Obama nominees. TRADE Trump will sign executive orders on Friday aimed at identifying abuses that are causing massive US trade deficits and clamping down on nonpayment of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports, his top trade officials say.

If confirmed, Gorsuch would replace Scalia, who died in February 2016.

She added: "I can not support Judge Gorsuch because a study of his opinions reveal a rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations".

Heitkamp said she expects Gorsuch to follow through on his promise of an independent judiciary that "acts as a proper check and balance on the other two branches of government".

The senator from North Dakota also noted his "experience and record on tribal sovereignty", adding that "regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics". While this may be a factor, the editorial completely ignores the fact that the most important reason for Democratic opposition to Gorsuch is the legal opinions that he has written.

If Gorsuch is confirmed, he would likely join the court in time to participate in the final oral arguments of the year, scheduled for later in April.

Some Democrats have accused Republicans of "stealing" a Supreme Court seat previous year when the Senate refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Scalia, appellate judge Merrick Garland.

A day after saying she was torn over the decision, Missouri Sen. We need to know if Judge Gorsuch will interpret the law fairly or reliably favor the powerful.

The fact that Democratic Senators are falling in behind their party's line is hardly news. They pushed through a rules change lowering the vote threshold on all nominees except for the Supreme Court from 60 to a simple majority.

When asked in October about possibly using the nuclear option if Republicans attempted to filibuster a potential Hillary Clinton nominee, Schumer said, "I hope we won't get to that".

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