Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Labor Day: No justice for whistleblowers MORE (D-Vt.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, announced he will vote against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch because of what he characterized as his evasive answers during confirmation hearings.
“I cannot recall a nominee refusing to answer such basic questions about the principles underlying our Constitution,” said Leahy, a former chairman of the panel, who presided over the confirmations of President Obama’s two nominees to the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Committee is set to vote on whether to advance Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate Monday.
He noted that Gorsuch initially declined to say whether he agreed with the court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education desegregating schools.
“Is there anybody on this committee or elsewhere who would disagree with Brown versus Board Education,” he said.
He also noted that Gorsuch refused to say that a woman’s right to an abortion, established in 1973 by Roe v. Wade, was settled law.
“Unless we were talking about fishing or basketball, Judge Gorsuch stonewalled,” Leahy said, referring to some of the softball topics his GOP colleagues pitched during confirmation hearings.
He panned Gorsuch’s answers, which many Democrats thought were evasive, as a “blight on the confirmation process.”
He argued that despite Gorsuch’s claims before the committee that he read the law as neutrally as an impartial judge, his rulings displayed “a partisan agenda.”
“I cannot vote solely to protect an institution when the rights of hardworking Americans are at risk,” he said. “I will not, I cannot support advancing this nomination.”