As the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing from witnesses for and against Judge Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nomination was delivered a critical blow: Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced he would oppose Gorsuch and join other Democrats in filibustering the nomination, making it likely that the judge will struggle to find the support needed to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle.
Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump, Schumer said in a Senate floor speech.
Gorsuch is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Schumer added. “He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”
The Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, was one of two organizations that provided a list of names to Trump to consider for his Supreme Court nomination. One of the group’s top leaders, Leonard Leo, is on leave from the organization as he advises Trump on the Supreme Court confirmation process and other picks to fill vacancies on the federal appeals courts.
Schumer’s opposition was widely expected, given his leadership of a party facing increased pressure to block all of Trump’s nominees and policy decisions. In his speech, he echoed the frustrations of Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who have struggled to extract specific answers from Gorsuch this week on specific legal issues or past Supreme Court cases.
Gorsuch “declined to answer question after question after question with any substance. … All we have to judge the judge on in his record,” Schumer said.
Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) — one of 10 Democratic senators facing reelection next year in a state that Trump won — also announced on Thursday that he would oppose Gorsuch and join other Democrats in filibustering him.
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