Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republicans are determined to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch within the week. It would restore the slim conservative majority to a high court that's periodically deadlocked 4-4 since the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He's participated in past judicial confirmation compromises created to retain Senate traditions including the filibuster.
Republicans hoped to persuade McCaskill and other Democratic senators to help break a filibuster to advance Gorsuch's nomination according to CNN. The filibuster requires 60 votes to break and Republicans only hold 52 seats. Many consider Mr. Gorsuch qualified, but the memory of Republicans' refusal to consider Merrick Garland's nomination still smarts, pushing Democrats to say they intend to resort to a procedural tactic that Republicans threaten will force them to re-write the legislative playbook.
"I remain very anxious about our polarized politics and what the future will bring, since I'm certain we will have a Senate rule change that will usher in more extreme judges in the future", she said. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced they would support Gorsuch's nomination and vote in favor of the judge.
Gorsuch, 49, has served more than a decade as a federal appeals court judge based in Denver. Shaheen said she could not vote for Gorsuch primarily because he "did not provide any assurances" that he would oppose overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
McCaskill told the donors that Gorsuch "was one of the better ones" on Trump's list of about 20 possible court nominees he released during the campaign and that if Democrats were successful in blocking him, Trump may come back with an even less palatable nominee for Democrats. "This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland", she wrote.
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As of Friday morning, 34 Democrats oppose Gorsuch, including New Hampshire Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) announced she would not support President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. McCaskill plans to run for a third term in 2018.
"During his time on the bench, Judge Gorsuch has received praise from his colleagues who have been appointed by both Democrats and Republicans". Michael Bennet of Colorado, Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Donnelly of IN, and are also hoping for support from Sen. He also said Democrats have never said Gorsuch ignored or misapplied the law in cases before him.
But, she said, she was also "very uncomfortable voting for a strategy that opens up a process where it only takes 51 votes" to approve a Supreme Court nominee.
Toomey past year backed a Republican refusal to consider then-President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the high court seat left vacant by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.