In a press conference that felt more like the final moments of a poorly cast reality show, Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court — a seat held open for months by obstructionist Republicans following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in March 2016. True to their words, many Democrats denounced the nomination and pledged to fight it.
Moments after Donald Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, Senate Democrats and progressive organizations reacted with vigor, denouncing Republicans for stealing the seat and promising to fight the nomination based on Gorsuch's troubling record.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) immediately noted "very serious doubts" about Gorsuch's ability to "prove himself to be within the legal mainstream" and to defend the Constitution from the Trump administration's overreaches. He declared that "Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate" on the nomination.
In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised support for the Senate Democrats as they work to stop the nomination, noting her deep concerns about Gorsuch, particularly regarding his record on reproductive rights:
After the relentless contempt for women that candidate Trump displayed throughout his campaign, it is no surprise that President Trump intends to place someone hostile to women’s rights on the Supreme Court. In the Hobby Lobby case, Judge Neil Gorsuch revealed his eagerness to single out women’s health for discrimination and enable employers to meddle in their workers’ most intimate health decisions.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) concurred, writing that Trump's promise to appoint justices who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade brings into question Gorsuch's ability to remain impartial on the bench, and promising a "thorough and unsparing examination" of the nominee.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) declared that he could not "support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people," noting that Gorsuch "doesn't pass that test."
And in separate statements, numerous other Senators sounded the alarm: Ron Wyden (D-OR) declared that Gorsuch's nomination "represents a breathtaking retreat from the notion that Americans have a fundamental right to Constitutional liberties;" Jeff Merkley (D-OR) firmly stated, "This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court;” and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) noted that Trump's first week in office signaled a need for an independent judiciary, promising a thorough review of Gorsuch's record.
Alongside these Senators, many progressive organizations are also voicing grave concerns about what Gorsuch's elevation to the Supreme Court would mean for the country and the people.
Alexandra de Luca, of EMILY's List, expressed worry about Gorsuch's ability to remain independent, and declared that "Americans depend on the Supreme Court now more than ever to defend their hard-fought constitutional rights – not to dismantle them.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) wrote:
President Trump’s nomination of Judge Gorsuch is a step backwards for every American who wants a good job, the opportunity for a better life for their family, and a real voice in our economy and democracy. Judge Gorsuch will only help rig the system even worse against working families and our communities.
The Human Rights Campaign said that Gorsuch's judicial record — which includes "opposing crucial medical treatment for a transgender person and supporting a license to discriminate" — makes him unfit for the Supreme Court.
NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue commented that Gorsuch has a "clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women" and called upon the Senate to block and obstruct his confirmation.
And the American Bridge PAC (which was founded by Shareblue founder David Brock) published a 78 page PDF on why Gorsuch is the wrong pick for the open seat.
Trump's choice is lighting a fire on the left, with a massive fight promised to protect the American people from conservative judicial overreaches. And with a 60 vote supermajority requested by the Senate, the Republicans will quickly find how frustrating being stopped in their tracks can be.