Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York on Thursday announced he would oppose confirming federal judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia.
“I have concluded that I cannot support Neil Gorsuch’s nomination,” the top-ranking Senate Democrat said on the floor. “My vote will be no and I urge my colleagues to do the same.” Gorsuch had spent the last three days on Capitol Hill being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The issue of abortion rights and the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade featured prominently in the questions posed by senators to President Trump’s nominee. During the second day of the hearing, Gorsuch was asked numerous times about his position on Roe v. Wade, but the nominee largely kept his answers vague. When asked whether Trump had asked him to be the court’s swing vote in overturning the ruling, Gorsuch said no such thing had happened and that he “would have walked out the door” if it had.
On Wednesday, the final day of the hearing, Gorsuch conceded that Roe v. Wade is settled law, an acknowledgement Senator Dianne Feinstein had been pressing him to make. The admission, his clearest answer on the topic, came during an exchange with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, CNN reported. Durbin had asked Gorsuch about a passage on assisted suicide in a book Gorsuch authored years ago.
“As the book explains, the Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment and the book explains that,” Gorsuch said.
“Do you accept that?” Durbin asked.
“That’s the law of the land, senator,” Gorsuch replied. “Yes.”
Schumer vowed to mount a filibuster, a move that could have sweeping implications for the confirmation process of future nominees and that was hailed by pro-choice advocates as “the right step.” Republicans vowed Gorsuch would be confirmed.
Watch Schumer’s remarks below.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.