Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

McCaskill, Accusing Gorsuch of 'Stunning Lack of Humanity,' Backs Filibuster


Two U.S. Democratic senators on Friday voiced their opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, ahead of an expected contentious confirmation fight next week on the U.S. Senate floor. But to do so, they will likely have to override Democratic objections and unilaterally change Senate rules so that Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority in the 100-seat chamber, instead of the 60-voter threshold.

Both West Virginia's Manchin and North Dakota's Heitkamp are up for re-election next year in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

In the face of a filibuster threat, several Republicans have called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to invoke the "nuclear option" that would require Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority - rather than the 60 votes necessary under current rules. When Democrats last held the Senate, they eventually responded to persistent GOP filibustering of Obama administration nominees by eliminating filibusters for executive branch jobs and lower court appointments. "Let's assume for the purposes of this discussion that we turn down Gorsuch, that there are not eight Democrats that vote to confirm him and therefore there's not enough to put him on the Supreme Court".

McCaskill told donors that she would be "very comfortable voting against" Gorsuch because of what she perceived as Gorsuch's favoritism toward corporations in past rulings on the USA 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House pointed out that President Trump selected Gorsuch after getting advice from 29 senators, and "more than half of these were Democrats, including every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee".

Friday Sen. Claire McKaskill (D-MO) said she will try to block the confirmation.

That decision was eventually unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court, and Claire McCaskill referenced that in her opposition.

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While stopping a filibuster requires 60 votes, once the filibuster stops, the vote requires a simple majority. Democrats were "hurtling toward the abyss", he said, "and trying to take the Senate with them".

The Judicial Crisis Network, the out-of-state political action committee, has reportedly pledged to spend $10 million on ad buys targeting Tester, as well as Democratic Sens.

Her announcement brings the number of "no" votes on cloture for Gorsuch up to 39, meaning it would require just two more opponents to block him, unless Republicans move to abolish the filibuster as it pertains to Supreme Court nominees.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W. "In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions".

With the filibuster gone, Trump could nominate another justice next time there's a vacancy without having to compromise with Democrats at all, and "all of a sudden, the things I fought for with scars on my back to show for it in this state are in jeopardy", McCaskill is heard saying.

Regardless, Gorsuch "did not convince people he was independent and thoughtful and down the middle", Schumer said - a sentiment echoed by other Democrats in recent days.

"We hope that her praise leads to additional support and her support".

There could be a major confrontation next week over Senate rules. Do you want McConnell to use the nuclear option?

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