Schumer warns GOP against rules change on Supreme Court

Claire McCaskill announced on Friday that she will not support the nomination of conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and will join a Democratic effort to block his confirmation vote, which is scheduled for next week.

Many refuse to support Gorsuch on principal, after Republicans declined to vote on former President Barack Obama's pick of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, leaving the ninth seat open for an unprecedented almost 300 days.

"Senate Republicans are acting like if Gorsuch doesn't get 60 votes they have no choice but to change the rules", Schumer said. She attributed her decision not to a party line vote, but one she came to after reviewing Gorsuch's record, which she says shows a "stunning lack of humanity".

Mrs. McCaskill's decision puts Democrats close to the 41 senators needed to sustain a filibuster - a move that will force a constitutional showdown, as Republicans ponder whether to use a shortcut to change the Senate's rules and curtail the power of the filibuster. Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, have vowed to keep the nomination from coming to a vote.

"That has never happened in American history where a sitting president was denied authorization to fill a seat on the Supreme Court before his successor", Johnstone said. That GOP blockade of Garland was a awful precedent, and one that nearly ensures that the next time a court vacancy opens up in the final year of a president's term, the opposition party if in the Senate majority will block the nominee - whatever the merits.

Should they vote for Gorsuch and anger their liberal base?

"He's bound and determined to change the rules and trample on Senate tradition" to get a conservative nominee approved, Schumer said of McConnell.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal of CT and Brian Schatz of Hawaii became the latest Democratic senators to announce their opposition to Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals court judge in Denver whose conservative rulings make him an intellectual heir to the justice he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia.

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"Picture this: You have two people confront each other", the Oregon Democrat said on MSNBC.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republicans are determined to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch within the week.

Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber says he stands by McCaskill as she fights for working people in Missouri.

Only two Democrats, the right-leaning Sens.

McCaskill had seemed like a particularly open-minded possibility following a Kansas City Star report earlier this week, which featured comments she made a behind closed doors warning Democratic donors about the consequences to blocking Gorsuch's nomination. The confirmation vote itself would require a simple majority.

Senate Democrats used the rules in November 2013 for executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments except for the Supreme Court.

"Judge Gorsuch is incredibly qualified".

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