Top Senate Democrat to oppose Trump pick for Supreme Court

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., pressing Gorsuch on the issue of campaign finance, said "commentators" now describe the Supreme Court "as instruments of the Republican Party".

If Gorsuch is confirmed, he would restore a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, a key goal of Republicans.

Earlier in the broadcast, Durbin reminded Cuomo that though "gifted...smooth...folksy...personable" in his Senate hearing, Gorsuch was hand-picked by the Heritage Foundation and others to satisfy Donald Trump's requirements in a Supreme Court Justice, and that Reince Priebus said of him that "he is a judge who has the vision of Donald Trump".

Once the Senate gets past procedural votes, it can hold a simple majority vote to confirm. He introduced Gorsuch to the Judiciary Committee on Monday, but did not commit to supporting the nomination, saying he was keeping an "open mind". They do not have the votes to vote down the Trump nominee outright, as they are a minority in the Senate. Another senior White House aide, chief of staff Reince Priebus, had said Gorsuch could potentially change 40 years of law, Leahy said. McCain brought the deal to the Republican caucus.

Schumer said that Gorsuch failed to convince him that, if confirmed, he would act as "an independent check on a president who has shown nearly no restraint from executive overreach".

Progressive groups have been urging Democrats to uniformly oppose all of Trump's nominees.

Whitehouse, a member of the Judiciary panel, extensively questioned Gorsuch on the Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed wealthy donors to give as much as they'd like as long as candidates aren't controlling how the money gets spent. "After considering his nomination seriously and without pre-judgment, and mindful of the awesome responsibility of passing judgment on nominees to the highest court in the nation, I do not believe Judge Gorsuch's judicial approach will ensure fairness for workers and families in Pennsylvania".

Democrats also took another opportunity to voice their displeasure at how Republicans kept Judge Merrick Garland, Obama's choice for the same seat, off the court. Sen.

If enough Democrats join Schumer in attempting to block Gorsuch's nomination, at least one Republican seems ready to go nuclear. Sen.

McConnell has yet to tip his hand about whether he would call for a rules change, but he told reporters this week, "If Judge Gorsuch can't achieve 60 votes in the Senate, could any judge appointed by a Republican president be approved with 60 or more votes in the Senate?"

  • Salvatore Jensen