Neil Gorsuch's SCOTUS nomination: Here's a running list of where every senator stands

Source: AP
Source: AP

President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Tuesday night, a nomination some Senate Democrats are looking to block as payback for the Republicans obstructing former President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, last year.

In order to block Gorsuch, Democrats are looking to filibuster the nominee by denying the GOP the 60 votes necessary to proceed to a vote.

To break a filibuster, Republicans need to bring eight Democrats to their side — a number they think they can achieve by putting pressure on Senate Democrats who face re-election in 2018 in deeply Red states.

This all assumes, however, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not invoke the so-called "nuclear option," which would require just a simple majority of Senators to proceed to an up-or-down vote.

McConnell may not even have to do that. Just hours after Gorsuch's nomination, cracks looked to appear in the Democratic opposition.

Here's where Senate Democrats stands on Gorsuch's nomination, grouped by their ideological bent.

Red state Democrats

Nine Democrats who face re-election in 2018 in states Trump won in the presidential contest are the most important to watch throughout the nomination process. 

They are: Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Here's where those who have staked out their positions stand:

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Claire McCaskill of Missouri said that all Supreme Court nominees deserve a "full confirmation hearing process and a vote" — a sign that cracks are already forming in the Democratic opposition. 

West Virginia's Joe Manchin expressed similar sentiments, saying he supports full confirmation hearings and a vote.

"I urge my colleagues to put partisan politics aside and allow the vetting process to proceed," Manchin said in a statement.

On CNN, Manchin referred to Republicans' blocking Obama's nominee from even receiving a hearing and said, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

Bill Nelson, of Florida, issued a vague statement, calling the confirmation of a SCOTUS nominee "an awesome responsibility that I gladly accept," adding that he will make a decision "after a full examination of Judge Gorsuch's judicial record and his responses to senators' questions."

Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin said she has a "number of concerns and questions" about Gorsuch, who she said has a "deeply troubling record, particularly his rulings against disabled students, against workers and against women's reproductive issues."

Pennsylvania's Bob Casey said he will "thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch's record."

Ohio's Sherrod Brown, so far, issued the strongest statement of the group, coming out as one of the first Democratic senators to say he will not support Gorsuch's nomination.

"I cannot support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people," Brown said in a statement.

Liberal stalwarts

Liberal members of the Senate — who have been vocal critics of Trump — are already coming out to say they oppose Gorsuch.

That includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats who were among the earliest to oppose Gorsuch.

Ed Markey called Gorsuch "outside the judicial mainstream" while Warren said he has a "long and well-established record" of siding with companies that mistreat their employees. 

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon came out against the nomination, saying "Gorsuch represents a breathtaking retreat from the notion that Americans have fundamental Constitutional rights."

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who has become a hero of the left, is not yet a firm no, saying in a statement that he will, "look forward to questioning Judge Gorsuch about his positions on the most important issues that impact Vermonters and all Americans and his views on recent Supreme Court decisions."

Democratic leadership

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who is tasked with shepherding his members on issues before the Senate, expressed "serious doubts" about Gorsuch. 

"Gorsuch put corps over workers, been hostile toward women's rights and been an ideolog. Skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice," Schumer tweeted Tuesday night. 

Minority Whip Dick Durbin, the Illinois senator who as whip helps track Democratic votes, was not as pointed in his words as Schumer, vowing to make sure American "voices are heard."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Gorsuch has "radical views on women's rights."

Given that she's a member of the House, she won't vote on Gorsuch's nomination. 

However, because she is a major part of Democratic congressional leadership, she will be part of the public Democratic messaging on Gorsuch throughout the confirmation process.

Rank-and-file Democratic Senators

Here's where safe Democratic senators, as well as those who don't face re-election or have non-competitive seats in 2018, stand.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he is going to base his decision on Gorsuch on the confirmation process but seemed to have no time for the GOP pressure to confirm Gorsuch after their treatment of Garland, Obama's erstwhile nominee.

"I want a Supreme Court Justice who will fairly interpret the law, uphold the Constitution and keep politics out of the courtroom," Murphy said in a statement. "I want a mainstream judge, not an ideological partisan. I'll take a close look at Judge Gorsuch's record and judicial philosophy, and ultimately make my decision based on whether he meets those straightforward expectations."

Below is a list of other reactions from Democratic senators.


This is a developing story and will be updated as Senators comment on Gorsuch's nomination. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

MORE FROM

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."

CNN sent a sketch artist to Sean Spicer's off-camera press briefing

The sketch artist normally covers scenes from the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration just pulled funding from a group that fights white extremism

Right wing violence is heating up, and the Justice Department is looking the other way.

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."

CNN sent a sketch artist to Sean Spicer's off-camera press briefing

The sketch artist normally covers scenes from the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration just pulled funding from a group that fights white extremism

Right wing violence is heating up, and the Justice Department is looking the other way.