Schumer Says He Will Vote 'No' on Gorsuch Nomination, Suggests Dem Filibuster

March 23, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) announced Thursday he will vote against Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court, indicating he will join other Democrats to filibuster the nomination.

Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, spent this week answering questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on his qualifications and previous rulings.

Schumer appeared to suggest he would help fellow Democrats filibuster a confirmation vote if Gorsuch does not receive 60 votes from senators.

"If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes–a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees, and George Bush's last two nominees–the answer isn't to change the rules. It's to change the nominee," Schumer said.

The New York Democrat explained his reasoning on the Senate floor by highlighting what he believes is on the line with Gorsuch's nomination.

"The Supreme Court matters a great, great deal," Schumer said. "It matters for workers who want to protect both their lives and their jobs, for employees who need to be able to seek redress for discrimination, for parents who want their kids to get a fair shake in the education system."

He said all of these groups of people helped him make his decision on whether to support Gorsuch.

"After careful deliberation I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court," Schumer said. "His nomination will have a cloture vote. He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation."

"My vote will be no and I urge my colleagues to do the same," he added.

Schumer was also critical of Gorsuch on Tuesday, accusing the judge of playing "dodgeball" with the Senate Judiciary Committee by avoiding questions on his judicial philosophy and legal issues that concern the American people.

"There is no legally justifiable rationale for not answering the questions he was asked," Schumer said. "He's hiding behind this. He simply wants to hide his views from the American people."

The reasons Schumer gave this week for opposing Gorsuch appear to contradict the senator's comments from a February press conference.

"There is a grand tradition that I support that you can't ask a judge who's nominated for a–or a potential judge who is nominated for a judgeship about a specific case that might come before them," Schumer said last month.

Schumer's decision to oppose Gorsuch occurred while the hearings for Gorsuch were still in session.

Nancy Degan, the American Bar Association's standing committee chair, told the Judiciary Committee on Thursday her organization gave Gorsuch a "well qualified" rating and "predicts that he will be a strong but respectful voice in protecting [judicial independence]."

"To merit the 'well qualified' rating, the nominee must have 'outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience, and meet the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament,'" the Washington Times reported.