Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 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) ManchinGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Lobbying World Lobbying World MORE (N.D.), represent states Trump won overwhelmingly in November.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' Senate rejection of Green New Deal won't slow Americans' desire for climate action 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) TesterSanders, Ocasio-Cortez back 'end the forever war' pledge Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ White House pleads with Senate GOP on emergency declaration MORE (Mont.) and Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying World Lobbying World Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down MORE (Ind.).

Gorsuch would likely also need the support of senior Democrats such as Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Congress set for next stage of Mueller probe fight Dem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9 MORE (Calif.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyTop Senate Dem to Trump: It would be a 'grave mistake' to follow in Richard Nixon's footsteps Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Hillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records 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 WarnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Mueller report is huge win for President Trump Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report MORE (Va.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  Senate Dems introduce bill demanding report on Khashoggi killing MORE (Del.), along with Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding MORE (Maine), who praised Gorsuch earlier this year as “exceedingly independent.”

Updated: 5:13 p.m.