News (USA)

Senator Joe Donnelly latest Democrat to roll over for Trump’s Supreme Court pick

Senator Joe Donnelly latest Democrat to roll over for Trump’s Supreme Court pick
FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, file photo, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., arrives early on Capitol Hill in Washington. Donnelly says he'll support the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Indiana Democrat announced his support on Sunday, April 2, 2017, for President Donald Trump’s pick, calling Gorsuch "a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers." Donnelly faces a tough re-election in 2018. Photo: (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Two Democratic senators on Sunday split over supporting Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana said he would vote in favor of Gorsuch’s confirmation while Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced he would not back the federal appeals court judge based in Denver. Donnelly became the third Democrat to break with the party as Republicans line up behind President Donald Trump’s choice for the high court. With 52 Republican senators, eight votes from Democrats or the Senate’s two independents would be needed to advance the nomination and prevent a filibuster. So far, only Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — all representing states Trump won in November and all up for re-election next year — have said they will vote to confirm Gorsuch. Tester represents a state won by Trump and faces re-election, too, but he said Gorsuch did not directly answer questions when the two met or during the confirmation hearing. Tester said he based his decision on the judge’s past cases, noting that he found troubling Gorsuch’s record on privacy and that he believes Gorsuch places corporations over people. Donnelly called Gorsuch, 49, “a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers.” Hours before Donnelly’s and Tester’s announcements, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he didn’t expect Gorsuch to receive 60 votes to overcome a filibuster threat. If Democrats mounted a filibuster, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was expected to seek a change in Senate rules allowing a simple majority of the 100-member Senate to confirm the nomination. “Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week,” McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He added: “How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture on a partisan basis to kill a Supreme Court nominee.” Such a change in Senate rules — known as the “nuclear option” — would likely be retained in the future and thus make Supreme Court confirmations more susceptible to simple party-line votes instead of bipartisan support. So far, just three Democrats have said they will vote for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee while the majority of Democrats oppose Neil Gorsuch. That puts Democrats close to the 41 that would force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to change Senate rules this week, scrapping the 60-vote threshold to ensure confirmation of Gorsuch with just a simple majority in the 100-seat chamber. All 52 Republicans back the nominee. A full list of Democrats and Independents and their positions on the Supreme Court nominee is on the next page.

Democrats and one independent who have announced their opposition to Gorsuch (total 37):

  • Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
  • Sherrod Brown of Ohio
  • Tom Carper of Delaware
  • Bob Casey of Pennsylvania
  • Kamala Harris of California
  • Ed Markey of Massachusetts
  • Jeff Merkley of Oregon
  • Bernie Sanders of Vermont
  • Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
  • Jack Reed of Rhode Island
  • Tom Udall of New Mexico
  • Patty Murray of Washington
  • Ron Wyden of Oregon
  • Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Bill Nelson of Florida
  • Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
  • Al Franken of Minnesota
  • Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
  • Dick Durbin of Illinois
  • Gary Peters of Michigan
  • Chris Van Hollen of Maryland
  • Chris Murphy of Connecticut
  • Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
  • Kirsten Gilibrand of New York
  • Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
  • Tim Kaine of Virginia
  • Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
  • Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Maria Cantwell of Washington
  • Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada
  • Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
  • Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Brian Schatz of Hawaii
  • Claire McCaskill of Missouri
  • Jon Tester of Montana

Supporting Gorsuch (3):

  • Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
  • Joe Manchin of West Virginia
  • Joe Donnelly of Indiana

Still unannounced:

  • Michael Bennet of Colorado
  • Chris Coons of Delaware
  • Dianne Feinstein of California
  • Angus King of Maine
  • Bob Menendez of New Jersey
  • Mark Warner of Virginia

Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ben Cardin of Maryland have said they will oppose the nominee, but it’s unclear how they will vote on cloture.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

These diehard hockey fans put their dream wedding on ice

Previous article

Walking Dead actor comes out on social media

Next article