Democrats line up against Trump's Supreme Court pick

Democrats line up against Trump's Supreme Court pick
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Democrats in the Senate quickly rallied in opposition to President Trump’s selection of Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Anton Scalia on the Supreme Court.

The early opposition lays the groundwork for a bitter battle between Republicans, who are enthused by Trump’s pick, and Democrats, who are still angered by the GOP’s blockade of former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases The South Carolina Democratic primary will be decided by black women Do Trump and Sanders hate America? MORE’s pick.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCandidates face pressure to exit presidential race Buttigieg proposes undoing SALT deduction cap Bloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio MORE (D-Mass.) railed against Gorsuch's record and said she would oppose his nomination. 

"President Trump had the chance to select a consensus nominee to the Supreme Court. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he failed that test," she said in a statement. "Instead, he carried out his public promise to select a nominee from a list drawn up by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests."

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference Trump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire MORE, a progressive from Ohio, described Gorsuch’s positions on corporate personhood, LGBT protections and women’s healthcare as too extreme.

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“I cannot support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people,” Brown said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has enormous influence over the lives of everyday Ohioans, and any nominee must be willing to defend their rights to make their own healthcare decisions, collectively bargain for safe workplaces and fair pay, and to be protected from discrimination and Wall Street greed.”

 Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (D-Ore.) also signaled his opposition to the pick.

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyInterest rate caps are popular — for good reason Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ore.), who a day earlier predicted that Democrats would launch a filibuster against whomever Trump picked for the court, fumed that Obama’s pick to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland, was never given a hearing or a vote by Senate Republicans. 

Republicans argued that it would have been unprecedented for an outgoing president to fill a Supreme Court vacancy at the height of a presidential election. Scalia died in February of last year, and Obama nominated Garland the following month.

Merkley encouraged Democrats to retaliate by resisting Trump’s pick.

“The most fundamental thing that must be understood about tonight’s announcement is that this is a stolen seat,” Merkley said. 

“This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a President of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.”

Any senator can require a 60-vote threshold for Gorsuch, but a filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee is exceedingly rare and has happened only four times in history.

Democrats failed in their last attempt to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee after former President George W. Bush nominated Justice Samuel Alito.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. The GOP would need eight Democrats to vote with them to break the 60-vote threshold if there is a filibuster.

Some Democrats, like Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSusan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE of North Dakota, say they oppose a filibuster.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House asking Congress for .5 billion to fight coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference MORE (N.Y.) said the burden is on Gorsuch “to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans."

"Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch’s fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice," Schumer said.

Some Democrats expressed openness to reviewing Gorsuch’s record.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Trump's intel moves spark Democratic fury MORE (D-Va.) lauded Gorsuch for having "an impressive résumé and academic background" but called for a thorough vetting "to ensure his views and judicial philosophy are not out of the mainstream." 

"I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications before deciding whether I believe he is fit to serve on our nation’s highest court," Warner said in a statement.

Manchin, a centrist who is up for a tough reelection race in a state that Trump won overwhelmingly, called on his colleagues to put politics aside in their review.

“The Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves,” Manchin said. “I look forward to meeting with Judge Gorsuch, examining his record, and making a determination of whether to provide my consent. Just as I have all along, I urge my colleagues to put partisan politics aside and allow the vetting process to proceed.”