Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBiden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies On The Trail: Trump-inspired challengers target GOP governors 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.
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 ManchinDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations Mark Kelly says he'll back changing filibuster rule for voting rights MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp11 former Democratic senators call for 'meaningful reform to Senate rules' Harry Reid, political pugilist and longtime Senate majority leader, dies Virginia loss lays bare Democrats' struggle with rural voters MORE (N.D.), represent states Trump won overwhelmingly in November.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Mellman: Voting rights or the filibuster? Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate 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) TesterThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Democrats' filibuster gambit unravels Biden: 'I don't know whether we can get this done' MORE (Mont.) and Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (Ind.).
Gorsuch would likely also need the support of senior Democrats such as Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act Domestic travel vaccine mandate back in spotlight Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (Calif.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyFormer US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup Senate delays vote as DC hit by snowstorm 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 WarnerBiden moves to boost security of sensitive national security systems We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (Va.) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats' filibuster gambit unravels Sen. Rob Portman announces positive COVID-19 test Ukraine president, US lawmakers huddle amid tensions with Russia MORE (Del.), along with Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingFor 2022, the Senate must work in a bipartisan manner to solve the American people's concerns This week: Democrats face crunch time on voting rights Democrats skeptical of McConnell's offer to talk on election law MORE (Maine), who praised Gorsuch earlier this year as “exceedingly independent.”
Updated: 5:13 p.m.