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Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator McCaskill congratulates Hawley on birth of daughter 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 ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate Major unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration MORE (N.D.), represent states Trump won overwhelmingly in November.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary 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 TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (Mont.) and Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE (Ind.).

Gorsuch would likely also need the support of senior Democrats such as Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinIncoming Congress looks more like America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight MORE (Calif.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyIncoming Congress looks more like America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Durbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel 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 Robert WarnerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate Harris shares Thanksgiving recipe: 'During difficult times I have always turned to cooking' MORE (Va.) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (Del.), along with Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingLeadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns Top cybersecurity official ousted by Trump Republicans start turning the page on Trump era MORE (Maine), who praised Gorsuch earlier this year as “exceedingly independent.”

Updated: 5:13 p.m.