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Schumer warns GOP against rules change on Supreme Court

05 April 2017

Claire McCaskill announced on Friday that she will not support the nomination of conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and will join a Democratic effort to block his confirmation vote, which is scheduled for next week. But Toomey says this is different.

As of Thursday, 33 of the 48 Democrats in the 100-seat Senate had announced opposition to Gorsuch, the Colorado-based federal appellate judge nominated by Trump in January for a lifetime post on the Supreme Court.

"I hold no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court Justice", Mr. Manchin said. Note that a Senate with no less than 60 Republicans should be capable of demolishing Democrat obstructionism. But there's nobody that I know of in the Republican conference who thinks we should have a four- or eight-year series of vacancies on the Supreme Court. That GOP blockade of Garland was a awful precedent, and one that nearly ensures that the next time a court vacancy opens up in the final year of a president's term, the opposition party if in the Senate majority will block the nominee - whatever the merits.

Seven Democrats and one independent, Angus King of ME, who usually votes with them, have not yet announced their position.

The senator pointed to Gorsuch's court record for why she would vote 'no'. And senators of both parties say that proceeding with the rules change could ultimately lead to complete elimination of the minority party's ability to block legislation via filibuster, one of the few remaining mechanisms that force bipartisan cooperation in Congress.

Gorsuch will be confirmed regardless, and Democrats need to keep their powder dry for the next time.

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In her Friday statement, the senator wrote that Trump broke a vow to Missouri voters who elected him by outsourcing his Supreme Court choice "to a right-wing group that fronts for large corporations and special interests" - a likely reference to dark-money groups that have spent heavily to boost the Gorsuch nomination in key states. "But I was taught that two wrongs don't make a right". McCaskill also warned that blocking Gorsuch could mean a worse pick in the view of Democrats. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate, and 60 votes are needed to end a filibuster.

However, GOP leaders have suggested they may invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to require only a majority vote in support of the nomination.

In a direct appeal to her constituents, McCaskill argued that Gorsuch "does not reflect the promises that Donald Trump made to Missourians" to drain the swamp and "look out for the little guy".

"By the way, Gorsuch was one of the better ones", McCaskill reportedly said.

Republicans hoped to persuade McCaskill and other Democratic senators to help break a filibuster to advance Gorsuch's nomination according to CNN.

"We are going to get him confirmed one way or the other", Boozman said.