McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch nomination, support possible Democratic filibuster

Posted April 03, 2017

As Common Dreams reported Friday, Gorsuch has "refused to outright state his stance on critical Supreme Court decisions certain to face challenges in upcoming years, such as Roe v. Wade".

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she will oppose Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

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.

"Claire McCaskill fighting on behalf of ordinary, working people in Missouri isn't surprising - it's what she's done every day as our senator", said Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber.

She also criticized Trump in her statement announcing her opposition, saying "the president who promised working people he would lift them up has nominated a judge who can't even see them". And she cited his support for the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allows corporations and unions to contribute unlimited amounts of money to political parties and candidates.

When asked by reporters on the Hill Friday about her comments in the Star, McCaskill said "I think my words speak for themselves".

"We wanted the people of the country to weigh in by whom they chose as president", she said.

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Several unidentified donors on the audio could be heard urging her to oppose Gorsuch, but others said they recognized the situation she was in.

McCaskill is up for re-election for a third term in 2018.

This week, the Missouri incumbent was among four Democratic senators in states Trump carried in the 2016 election who were targeted with pro-Gorsuch ads by the National Rifle Association. The Senate's Republicans would need eight Democrats to vote with them in order to prevent the filibuster, a parliamentary maneuver that would make it hard for Gorsuch's nomination to get an up or down vote. "This is a time, though, where you have such an exceptionally qualified nominee, who has conducted himself so well and with dignity and respect".

The group's latest push comes as Senate Democrats are trying to block Gorsuch's nomination from reaching a final vote. As Senator Charles Grassley said, "If you'd filibuster Judge Gorsuch, it's obvious you'd filibuster anybody".

Changing Senate rules would not be unprecedented. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who said on Thursday that they will be supporting Gorsuch.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed that Gorsuch will be confirmed and has told colleagues to expect a vote to change the rules to lower the threshold for ending a filibuster to a simple majority", according to The Hill.

- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said Friday that his thoughts about Neil Gorsuch's politics shouldn't enter into his decision whether to confirm Gorsuch as a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.