Richard Blumenthal is a Connecticut senator on the Judiciary Committee
Neil Gorsuch will appear at the committee for his confirmation hearing starting Monday
A Democratic lawmaker said Monday his party is prepared to use “every tool” possible to keep Judge Neil Gorsuch from making it to the Supreme Court.
“I think that that every nominee is important. If I conclude this one is outside the mainstream, I will use every tool at my disposal and I think my Democratic colleagues share that view,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “New Day.”
Gorsuch will appear before senators later Monday looking to pin him down on his conservative philosophy. President Donald Trump previously encouraged Senate Republicans should “go for it” and invoke the so-called nuclear option if necessary, preventing Democrats from using a filibuster to block his Supreme Court nominee.
Invoking the nuclear option, as it is called on Capitol Hill, would end the need for Supreme Court nominees to receive 60 votes to break a filibuster and proceed to an up-or-down vote on the nomination that only requires a majority to confirm. Both Republicans and Democrats have long resisted doing so as it would set a new precedent for the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees in the future.
Some have argued that the Democrats should support Gorsuch and focus on blocking a future court nominee, but Blumenthal disagrees.
“Let’s remember, the Supreme Court is more than just marble pillars and judicial robes,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “It is the flesh and blood and embodiment of American justice. I’ve met with some of the people who have been, in fact, harmed by Judge Gorsuch’s decisions in the past.”
Blumenthal said he’s concerned about Gorsuch’s judicial independence considering that ideologically conservative groups lobbied Trump for his nomination. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said he is prepared to grill Gorsuch on his positions on abortion rights and gun control.
“This nominee is virtually unique because he has been vetted, screened, in fact, almost selected by outside groups, right wing, conservative groups – the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society,” he said.
“Now they’ve rehearsed and prepared him for this hearing. I want to know what those connections are as well.”