Former colleagues, judges to testify for Supreme Court pick Gorsuch

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday he will not support the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and urged other Democrats to join a filibuster against him.

Bill Nelson to vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice.

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of NY, was among five senators to declare their opposition to Gorsuch Thursday, even before the Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination had ended. New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall said Gorsuch had failed to convince him he'd be an independent voice against President Donald Trump, who nominated Gorsuch in January. To change the rules McConnell would need only 51 votes, and the Senate Republican caucus has 52 members. And Democrats would dearly like to preserve that tool, knowing that there is a strong possibility there will be at least one more Supreme Court vacancy during the Trump presidency.

Gorsuch did not rule on the lower court case, but a 10th Circuit decision he wrote in 2008 was part of the case. "For the first time in the history of the United States, the Senate refused to hold a hearing, refused to have a vote", he said.

Aside from a few uncomfortable moments, Gorsuch generally maintained the mix of earnest talk about respect for prior court decisions, a pledge for absolute independence - "when you put on the robe, you open your mind" - and folksy humor that led to lighthearted exchanges with Republicans about his passion for fly fishing. The GOP insisted that the next president make the nomination.

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As of late on Wednesday, it was unclear what Democrats would do, but conservative activists had identified 10 possible "yes" votes for Gorsuch among Democrats seeking re-election next year in states that Trump won in the 2016 election. Nothing else matters in deciding whether he should become a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Schumer said Gorsuch failed to convince him he would be "an independent check on a president who has shown nearly no restraint from executive overreach" or that he would be a neutral justice "free from the biases of politics and ideology".

Casey said Gorsuch possesses a "rigid and restrictive judicial philosophy" and writes opinions to satisfy his conservative beliefs rather than "grapple with the complex circumstances faced by ordinary Americans". Many are also still angry that President Obama's nominee for the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Judge Merrick Garland, was never given a hearing by Republicans.

The reasons Schumer gave this week for opposing Gorsuch appear to contradict the senator's comments from a February press conference.

Schumer, who previously called for the Senate to delay voting on Gorsuch's nomination because of the FBI's ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russian Federation, took to the Senate floor to explain his reasoning, citing Gorsuch's inability to answer specific questions or convince him that he'd be neutral. Under the deal worked out with McCain, the Democrats would forgo a change in the filibuster rule if the Republicans would allow a vote on one of those nominees.

  • Adam Floyd