Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillSenators question need for HHS cyber office Overnight Cybersecurity: Obama DHS chief defends Russian hack response | Trump huddles on grid security | Lawmakers warned about cyber threat to election systems We must protect our most vulnerable from financial fraudsters MORE (D-Mo.) on Friday said she will vote to support a filibuster of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

The announcement makes it significantly harder for Gorsuch to muster the 60 votes he needs to overcome a filibuster and advance to a final confirmation vote.

McCaskill is the first Democrat facing reelection next year in a state President Trump carried by double digits to come out against Gorsuch.

She announced her opposition in a statement posted to Medium, faulting the nominee for “a stunning lack of humanity.”

“I cannot support Judge Gorsuch because a study of his opinions reveal a rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations,” she wrote.

McCaskill cited the judge's opinion in Transam Trucking v. Administrative Review Board, which sided with an employer who ordered a trucker to stay with a disabled vehicle in sub-zero weather conditions.

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She said the nomination of Gorsuch goes against the grain of Trump’s promise to help working-class Americans because he is “a judge who can’t even see them.”

McCaskill also raised concerns about Gorsuch’s refusal during his confirmation hearing to say how he viewed the constitutionality of campaign fundraising regulations, which were limited by the landmark case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010.

“I cannot and will not support a nominee that allows dark and dirty anonymous money to continue to flood unchecked into our elections,” she said.

McCaskill acknowledged that it was “a really difficult decision for me.”

An audio recording of McCaskill’s comments to a group of Democratic donors that surfaced Thursday revealed she was worried blocking Gorsuch could backfire on the party.

She warned that if Republicans ax the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, it would allow Trump to appoint an extreme conservative to fill a future vacancy.

McCaskill has previously expressed concern about the threat of a liberal primary challenger in 2018. Republicans on Friday accused her of pandering to liberal members of the base.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Katie Martin said McCaskill’s “decision today might appease the extreme liberal elite but, unfortunately for Claire, those folks don’t vote in Missouri.”

Her "no" vote shrinks the pool of Democrats who have undecided or unclear positions on Gorsuch to nine. Gorsuch's nomination needs the backing of eight Democrats or Independents, along with all 52 Republicans, to break a filibuster.

Only two Democrats have so far said they will vote to end a filibuster of Gorsuch and support his final confirmation, according to The Hill’s Whip List. Both of them, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThis week: Senate races toward ObamaCare repeal vote Senate Republicans reluctant to rush vote on healthcare bill Manchin: Senate can do 'an awful lot' to improve healthcare bill MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSenate Dem undecided on 2018 reelection run Trump ‘regulatory czar’: Two-for-one rule can work Congress should just say no to more green energy handouts MORE (N.D.), represent states Trump won overwhelmingly in November.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellConway: ObamaCare 'robbed people of choices' This week: Senate races toward ObamaCare repeal vote McConnell allies confident in healthcare win MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed that Gorsuch will be confirmed and has told colleagues to expect a vote to change the rules to lower the threshold for ending a filibuster to a simple majority.

To avoid a showdown over the rules, it now becomes crucial for Gorsuch to pick up the support of the two remaining undecided Democrats who face reelection next year in strongly pro-Trump states: Sen. Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Trump's 'regulatory czar' advances in Senate Gianforte causes stir after becoming newest House member MORE (Mont.) and Sen. Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyLawmakers sport LSU gear at baseball game in honor of Scalise Senate votes to continue arming Saudis As Yemenis suffer the consequences Overnight Defense: Mattis defends Trump budget | Senate rejects effort to block Saudi deal | Boeing to cut 50 executive jobs MORE (Ind.).

Gorsuch would likely also need the support of senior Democrats such as Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Calif.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyGoing national with automatic voter registration Republicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Trump draws a harder line on Cuba MORE (Vt.), who might be concerned about preserving their power to filibuster for the next vacancy on the court.

Other Democrats up in the air are centrist Sens. Mark WarnerMark WarnerElection hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security Are Democrats trying to pin the blame for their own sins on Russia? Policymakers forget duty to protect taxpayers from financial failures MORE (Va.) and Chris CoonsChris CoonsOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Overnight Tech: Uber CEO resigns | Trump's Iowa tech trip | Dems push Sessions to block AT&T-Time Warner deal | Lawmakers warned on threat to election systems | Senate Dem offers patent reform bill MORE (Del.), along with Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingElection hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security Zinke hits Dems for delaying Interior nominees Angus King: I’m sure Flynn will 'appear before the committee one way or another' MORE (Maine), who praised Gorsuch earlier this year as “exceedingly independent.”

Updated: 5:13 p.m.