Liberal Groups Warn Democratic Senators Over Gorsuch

Votes on SCOTUS nominee could ‘haunt them for the rest of their careers’

Liberals are pushing for Democrats such as Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin to oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal groups are pushing for Democratic senators to block Judge Neil Gorsuch from the Supreme Court and say the lawmakers could pay a price if they don’t vote against him.

The groups announced the launch of a campaign called “The People’s Defense” led NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.org, CREDO, Indivisible, and the American Federation of Teachers.

“Any Democrat who votes to advance Gorsuch will have a permanent stain on their record,” Murshed Zaheed, vice president for CREDO Mobile, said on a conference call with reporters.

Zaheed compared a vote for Gorsuch to Hillary Clinton’s vote authorizing the war in Iraq when she was a senator.

“We will hold them accountable to their constituents and to the Democratic base,” he said.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch in January to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. 

Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said the Democratic base wants senators to oppose Gorsuch’s confirmation. She added that Thursday’s call “literally broke the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for the biggest conference call.”

A CNN/ORC poll from last month showed 76 percent of Democrats polled would support an effort by Senate Democrats to block an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch. The same poll showed 61 percent of Democrats would like to see the Senate vote against Gorsuch.

Galland also said there could be political rewards for opposing Gorsuch’s confirmation, pointing to Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley receiving more than $100,000 in small donations after announcing he would filibuster Trump’s nominee.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said “every bad decision will be laid at the floor of any senator.”

“We’re keeping every option on the table,” she said.

But almost all of the activists on the call held their tongue when asked about the potential consequences that Democrats could face from the base if they move forward on Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Zaheed used the example of Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s vote to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom liberals have accused of supporting tactics considered to be torture.

“Three thousand people showed up at his town hall,” and Whitehouse committed to opposing future nominees, Zaheed said.

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