Wednesday 24/07/2019 - 03:35 am

Gorsuch clears committee as Democrats shore up filibuster

2017.04.03 09:52

Judge Neil Gorsuch took a big step toward confirmation to the Supreme Court Monday as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve his nomination, setting up a final floor vote at the end of this week.

The 11-9 vote broke down along party lines as Republicans on the committee overpowered Democrats, who mounted fierce opposition, but are likely powerless to stop the confirmation.

“Over the last couple months, the nominee’s opponents have tried to find a fault with him that will stick. And it just hasn’t worked,” said the committee’s Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican. “His approach is consistent with the canons of judicial ethics.”

Democrats, though, waved aside outstanding reviews from both liberals and conservatives for Judge Gorsuch, saying he’s too much of a threat to their ideology to give him a lifetime appointment to the high court.

“Judge Gorsuch’s views were difficult to discern because he refused to answer many questions — even basic questions that had been answered by previous nominees,” said the committee’s ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, of the judge’s testimony before the committee last month.

A final floor vote is expected Friday in the Senate, but Judge Gorsuch will first have to overcome a promised filibuster from Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

Democrats appear to have the votes to sustain a filibuster, and Mr. Schumer wants Mr. Trump to pull Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and instead get someone Democrats will agree to.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, has rejected those calls, saying Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed. Should Democrats succeed in their filibuster, Mr. McConnell would likely resort to the “nuclear option,” using a controversial shortcut to change Senate rules and curtail the power of the filibuster for nominations.

“We’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed this week,” Mr. McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.”

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