WASHINGTON — The nomination process for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch is hanging by a thread. Democrats still spurned by Capitol Republicans decision to ignore former Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Merrick Garland during the final year of former President Barack Obama’s term, are doing everything within their power to block President Donald Trump’s first pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
This means it’s expected Minnesota’s two DFL Senators will vote “no” against Gorsuch, whose confirmation vote is expected to be held within the next week.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) took to twitter to announce his decision to cast a “no” vote against Gorsuch.
Judge Gorsuch is not a consensus nominee like Merrick Garland and he should not be confirmed to U.S. Supreme Court. https://t.co/ycLYbcYYbs
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) March 27, 2017
The tweet links back to a press release where Franken said, “I am going to vote no on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. He has an extreme record on everything from corporate accountability and workers’ rights to women’s health, and I fear that as a Supreme Court justice he will guarantee that the highest court in the land continues to favor powerful interests over the rights of average Americans.”
Franken, a member of the Judiciary Committee, says he went into the hearings with an “open-mind,” but took a moment to reaffirm his endorsement of Garland. “We need a Supreme Court justice who has earned a reputation for working to build consensus-someone like Merrick Garland, who, although rightfully nominated by President Obama, was treated disgracefully by Senate Republicans and denied a hearing and a vote. Judge Gorsuch is not a consensus nominee like Merrick Garland and he should not be confirmed,” Franken said.
Gorsuch and Franken made national news during the confirmation hearings as the two sparred over legal policy and Gorsuch’s written dissents into past cases he presided over. Franken at one point apologized to Gorsuch after correcting him stating the Federal Arbitration Act was implemented in 1924 – it was enacted in 1925.
Though Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has not made a formal announcement on how she plans to vote on Gorsuch’s nomination, expect her to join her Democratic colleagues in voting against the nominee.
Klobuchar’s statements during the confirmation hearing suggest Gorsuch is not her ideal pick. Klobuchar began her opening statements talking about the country’s frame of mind stating Gorsuch’s nomination was, “a singular moment of constitutional and democratic unease.” Klobuchar, a lawyer herself, understands the how the decisions of the Supreme Court affect the country moving forward. A live analysis of the confirmation hearings by the Wall Street Journal shows Klobuchar disagreeing with Gorsuch more often than not. Stating Gorsuch practiced “selective originalism,” Klobuchar also attacked Gorsuch’s decision in a disability education case. WSJ notes, “Sen. Klobuchar is having a go at the judge on several fronts.”
Gorsuch, one of Trump’s choices for the seat during his campaign, is seen as the ideal replacement for Scalia, mainly due to his originalist thinking. Senate Republicans need 60 votes in order to confirm Gorsuch. Republicans only hold 52 seats in the Senate. Republicans may decide to suspend the Senate rules and look for a majority of 51 to fill Scalia’s seat if they cannot get the eight Democrats needed. With 2018 fast approaching, Republicans may not need to make the drastic decision. Currently, 10 Democratic Senators from red states won by Trump will face a challenger in 2018 and may side with Republicans to keep their seat.