Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday blasted President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying they are ready for a long fight during the confirmation process for the judge.
“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 in a statement issued moments after Trump revealed his pick.
“The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream,” he added.
Schumer was joined by several other Democrats who have been itching for a fight over their Republican counterparts’ refusal to hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, the Supreme Court nominee Barack Obama proposed to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia.
Sens. Chris Murphy, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, and more all issued similarly worded statements criticizing Gorsuch following Trump’s announcement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also voiced her opposition, saying Gorsuch was “hostile to women’s rights.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon told Politico on Monday he would filibuster any Trump pick that was not Garland. If Democrats do employ the filibuster, Republicans would need a 60-vote supermajority to confirm Gorsuch. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. On Tuesday, Merkley accused Republicans of “packing” the high court.
“This strategy of packing the court, if successful, could threaten fundamental rights in America, including workers’ right to organize, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of ordinary citizens to have their voices heard in elections rather than being drowned out by the corrupting influence of dark money from the richest Americans,” Merkley said.
Republicans, in turn, could apply the “nuclear” option — changing the Senate’s rules to disallow the filibuster. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed reticence to go that route in media appearances this month because he fears Republicans will lose the senate in the mid-term elections.
Schumer signaled a Democratic filibuster in his statement on Tuesday.
“The Senate must insist upon 60-votes for any Supreme Court nominee, a bar that was met by each of President Obama’s nominees,” he said.