Tags: Supreme Court | judge | Neil Gorsuch | SCOTUS | confirmation

Politico: Democrats 'Paralyzed' by Gorsuch Credentials, Charm

Image: Politico: Democrats 'Paralyzed' by Gorsuch Credentials, Charm
Judge Neil Gorsuch and his wife (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 07:45 PM

Democrats have remained silent on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — and the vacuum has led many to privately believe the appellate court judge will secure the 60 Senate votes needed for confirmation.

"The only thing we've decided as a caucus is to ask members not to make any public commitments until the hearing phase is finished," Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois told Politico.

Gorsuch, 49, has held 70 meetings with senators since he was nominated in January — many of which he has "breezed through," according to Politico — and Democrats have found little to contest with his record.

As such, the party is split over how to challenge Gorsuch at his confirmation hearings, which begin Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Some are considering whether to push Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the "nuclear option" — doing away the 60-vote threshold needed for passage — or simply confirming Gorsuch, figuring he would bring no major ideological shift to the court, and waging war over the next nominee.

"I think every nominee is important, but I know that many of my colleagues are thinking about" that dynamic, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez told Politico. "When is it that they fall on the sword? Is it on this one or the next one?

"I'm not coming at it from that approach."

In addition, several red-state Democrats are facing re-election. Many are facing pressure from both conservatives and liberals on Gorsuch's nomination.

"We should be open to supporting any nominee," North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who is seeking her second term, told Politico.

"I get pressure from the left all the time," she added. "I wasn't sent here to respond to pressure."

Another is West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, also seeking his second full term.

He told Politico he was "truly and totally concerned" about Democrats forcing McConnell to go nuclear on the nomination.

"You need nine members," Manchin said of the court. "It doesn't work with eight.

"I understand the Democrats being so upset. I understand it.

"That doesn't make it right to go along with eight," he added. "If you think [Republicans] are going to give you a center-left [judge], they're not! Come to grips with it."

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told Politico she was focusing on next week's hearing.

"Our job is to put together the hearing," she said. "Why have a hearing if everybody is going to take a position?

"So, to be talking about whether I'm for or against at this stage makes no sense at all to me, because it's uninformed."

However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York insisted to Politico: "We're strategizing. We're just not telling you."

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Democrats have remained silent on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch – and the vacuum has led many to privately believe the appellate court judge will secure the 60 Senate votes needed for confirmation.
judge, Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS, confirmation
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2017-45-14
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 07:45 PM
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