Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal vowed Monday to use "every tool" at his disposal to block the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump's first Supreme Court nominee.
"In this instance, Donald Trump has very explicitly established a litmus test on particular issues," the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," while explaining that he'll have very tough questions for Gorsuch during his confirmation hearings, which got underway late Monday morning.
"It used to be that judges would be selected based on their intellect and integrity, without a president saying will you be on this side of this issue or will you pass, for example, the litmus test on women's healthcare, Roe v. Wade, guns, also workers' safety," said Blumenthal, urging viewers to remember that Trump boasted about his SCOTUS choice.
Blumenthal said he and other Democrats will ask tough questions of Gorsuch, as they will fight to block his confirmation.
"[Trump] outsourced the selection of his nominee to right wing conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society," Blumenthal charged.
Blumenthal, also appearing on CNN's "New Day," said Democrats are ready to use "every tool" available to keep Gorsuch's confirmation from proceeding.
If the nuclear option is invoked that would end the need for Gorsuch to receive 60 votes in order to break a filibuster, reports CNN, but lawmakers have resisted taking the action, as it could set a precedent for future SCOTUS nominees.
Blumenthal also said he disagrees with those who argue Democrats should support Gorsuch and work to block a future court nominee.
"Let's remember, the Supreme Court is more than just marble pillars and judicial robes," he told CNN. "It is the flesh and blood and embodiment of American justice. I've met with some of the people who have been, in fact, harmed by Judge Gorsuch's decisions in the past."
Further, said Blumenthal, he thinks every nominee is important.
Earlier this year, Blumenthal claimed to the "Morning Joe" program that Gorsuch told him during a closed-door meeting to feel free to reveal that he finds Trump's attacks on the judiciary to be "disheartening and demoralizing."
"Judge Gorsuch specifically said 'you should feel free to mention what I said about these attacks being disheartening and demoralizing,'" the Connecticut Democrat said. "It was unbidden. He said to feel free to 'talk about what I said.'"
Gorsuch has never come forward publicly with the comments, said Blumenthal, and he told MSNBC Monday he hopes the judge will be "very explicit and direct" in his testimony about Trump's comments about the judiciary.
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