By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Democrats on Monday forced a one-week delay in a committee vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who remains on track for confirmation with solid Republican backing.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced that, as expected, Democrats have requested a postponement. The committee vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch now will occur on April 3.
At least 15 Democrats and independents, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, have announced their opposition to the Denver-based appeals court judge, arguing that Gorsuch has ruled too often against workers and in favor of corporations.
Several Democrats have expressed frustration with the answers Gorsuch gave during two lengthy days of questioning at his confirmation hearing.
But the nominee is supported by all Republican senators, and the GOP has a 52-48 majority.
“Before the hearing started we all knew how qualified the judge is. His resume speaks for itself,” Grassley said. “But last week we got to see up-close how thoughtful, articulate, and humble he is. He is clearly deeply committed to being a fair and impartial judge. And he isn’t willing to compromise that independence to win votes in the Senate.”
Democrats said during and after the hearing that Gorsuch didn’t give clear enough answers when questioned. He refused to give his personal views on most any issue, including abortion, campaign finance and others that Democrats highlighted. Republicans praised his testimony, saying he showed humility and a deep understanding of legal precedent and separation of powers.
The Democrats who have announced their opposition have also said they will try to block the nominee, meaning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will have to hold a procedural vote requiring 60 votes to move forward. Based on the GOP edge, at least eight Democrats and independents will have to vote with Republicans.
McConnell says he hopes Gorsuch would get Democratic votes in the end, but he seems ready to change Senate rules, if necessary, to confirm him with a simple majority.