Schumer Opposes Gorsuch Confirmation: Change The Nominee, Not The Rules

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Richard Blumenthal speak out against Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court and the "dark money" funding ads in his favor.

"Let's look at how Judge Gorsuch got to this point. He was recommended for the federal bench by Philip Anschutz, a hard-right special interest billionaire. Then he was handpicked for the Supreme Court by the right-wing special interest laden Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society," Schumer said.

"Iif Judge Gorsuch fails to earn 60 votes, and fails to demonstrate he is mainstream enough to sit on the highest court, we should change the nominee not the rules. The Republicans are the ones making the choice to go nuclear. This idea of, oh, we have no choice -- they're free actors," he said later.

"They could easily come to another nominee, who might be a little more mainstream."

"Now, millions of dollars in undisclosed special interest donations are being used to prop up his nomination. Americans deserve to know who is funding this effort to get Judge Gorsuch on the highest bench in the land," he added.

"They're acting as if a rules change is inevitable, like it's the only choice if 60 senators don't agree that Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed. They're wrong. As I said, the answer is not to change the rules, it's to change the nominee."

SCHUMER: Well, thank you. And I want to thank Sheldon and Richard. Both have been such leaders on the general issue of sunlight, in terms of where all of these -- where these millions of dollars and very wealthy special interest people are placing their money. And right here is a case in point.

Now, let's look at how Judge Gorsuch got to this point. He was recommended for the federal bench by Philip Anschutz, a hard-right special interest billionaire. Then he was handpicked for the Supreme Court by the right-wing special interest laden Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.

Now, millions of dollars in undisclosed special interest donations are being used to prop up his nomination. Americans deserve to know who is funding this effort to get Judge Gorsuch on the highest bench in the land, especially if these secretive funders are pushing his nomination 'cause they believe Judge Gorsuch will vote their way.

Judge Gorsuch had a chance to distance himself from these groups when he was asked question after question by my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. And he refused to answer them, raising the suspicion further that he is not a balls-and-strikes guy, but rather represents the hard-right special interest wing of American politics.

That's why he's have trouble earning 60 votes. There was a seismic change after his hearing. There were suspicions about Judge Gorsuch.

When you look at his early writings and who he hung out with, and particularly that he was on a list that the Heritage Foundation, who most Republicans think is too far to the right, was chosen from that list. But then, when he wouldn't answer questions, you said, what is he hiding. These are not difficult questions to answer. He wouldn't even answer, for God's sakes, do you agree with Brown v. Board of Education.

He was told by his handlers don't answer anything, and he did a good job at that. So, let me be clear, he was handpicked by special interests, is supported by special interests, and has a record of siding with special interests. This is no neutral, down the middle judge, even though he comes off as very erudite and very careful.

And if Judge Gorsuch fails to earn 60 votes, and fails to demonstrate he is mainstream enough to sit on the highest court, we should change the nominee not the rules. The Republicans are the ones making the choice to go nuclear. This idea of, oh, we have no choice -- they're free actors.

They could easily come to another nominee, who might be a little more mainstream. President Clinton, President Obama consulted Republicans before they nominated someone. President Trump went to the hardest right sector of American politics and said, you give me your wish list and I promise you I'll pick one of those.

So, the Republicans should not make a -- their choice to go nuclear. They're acting as if a rules change is inevitable, like it's the only choice if 60 senators don't agree that Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed. They're wrong. As I said, the answer is not to change the rules, it's to change the nominee.

And if the nuclear option is invoked, it's because our Republicans in the Senate chose to do so. I know my friend the majority leader's fond of saying that Judge Gorsuch failing to get 60 votes would be the first partisan filibuster in history. Give me a break. It was Mitch McConnell and the Republicans who didn't even get to the filibuster point with Merrick Garland.

He broke 230 years of precedent by instituting a new policy of refusing a president's Supreme Court nominee last year. And that was worse than a filibuster. That wouldn't even get to the filibuster with Justice Garland. And just as the Republicans were free actors when they didn't give Garland a hearing -- no one forced them to do that -- they're free actors now. If they decide to change the rules, it will be on their back.

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