Leading Democrats have come out with strong criticism of President Trump’s pick, Neil Gorsuch, for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
The Colorado appeals court judge was named by President Trump on Tuesday to replace the late Antonin Scalia.
Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, said that he had “very serious doubts” about the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren accused Mr. Gorsuch of siding with large businesses over American workers.
Mr. Gorsuch’s two high-profile cases at the appeals court saw him side with the business owners who objected to birth control funding in employee’s insurance plan on religious grounds.
The court’s conservative 5-4 majority, lost when Justice Scalia died last year, will be restored if the Senate confirms the nomination.
The Supreme Court has an ultimate say on the most sensitive issues in the U.S., including abortion, gun control, and gender rights.
Mr. Trump’s nominee was described as a “very hostile appointment” and “a very bad decision, well outside the mainstream of American legal thought,” by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Vermont Senator and Former Democrat presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders asked Judge Gorsuch to “explain his hostility to women’s rights, support of corporations over workers and opposition to campaign finance reform.”
Can Democrats Block the Nomination?
The Republicans will not like it if Democrats made a concerted effort to block Judge Gorsuch’s nomination; they blocked Barack Obama’s nomination for the seat until Mr. Obama left office. The seat was left vacant ten months ago with Justice Scalia’s death, but Republicans didn’t even debate on Mr. Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Gerland, claiming it was too close to an election.
There is no law which says that Supreme Court Justice can’t be nominated close to a President’s term in office.
After clearing the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Gorsuch will face challenges when the entire chamber convenes for a final vote.
The Democrats can try to prevent that second vote by prolonging, or filibustering, the debate. If that happens, the nomination would need 60 votes instead of a simple majority.
With Republicans having 52 seats in the Senate, they may have to change the Senate rules in order to approve the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.
Why is The Choice so Important?
The highest court in the U.S. is usually the final arbiter on the most contentious laws, disputes between the federal government and states, and final appeals to executions.
The Supreme Court hears fewer than 100 cases a year and the key announcements are made in June every year.
After the nomination and approval by the President and Senate respectively, each of the nine judges serves a lifetime appointment.
There are important cases like the rights of transgender students, gerrymandered voting districts and on Texas death penalty determination in this term.
Seemingly, the court will also hear cases on abortion, voter rights, racial bias in policing and U.S. immigration policy, and possibly the controversial executive order of Mr. Trump banning refugees.