Dems go full blast to un­der­mine Trump


Democrats turned ob­struc­tion­ist yes­ter­day, boy­cotting hear­ings and pledg­ing to sink Pres­i­dent Trump’s Supreme Court nom­i­nee, Neil Gorsuch (above).

Pres­i­dent Trump nom­i­nated con­ser­va­tive Judge Neil Gorsuch of Den­ver for the Supreme Court on Tues­day — a move Democrats vowed to fight even be­fore it was an­nounced.

“I took the task of this nom­i­na­tion very se­ri­ously,” Trump said as he pre­sented the nom­i­nee and his wife, Louise, in an an­nounce­ment at the White House.

“Judge Gorsuch has out­stand­ing le­gal skills.”

The pres­i­dent added, “The qual­i­fi­ca­tions of Judge Gorsuch are be­yond dis­pute.”

Gorsuch then took the podium and talked emo­tion­ally about how he “missed” the jus­tice he would be re­plac­ing, the late An­tonin Scalia.

“I pledge that if I am con­firmed, I will be a faith­ful ser­vant to the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws of this coun­try,” he said.

Gorsuch, 49, a fourth-gen­er­a­tion Coloradan who sits on the US Court of Ap­peals for the 10th Cir­cuit in Den­ver, will re­store the ide­o­log­i­cal bal­ance that ex­isted be­fore Scalia’s sud­den death in Fe­bru­ary 2016.

The Har­vard grad is a con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can and a cham­pion of re­li­gious liberty known for his crisp and pointed writ­ing style.

He has slammed lib­er­als for an “over­ween­ing ad­dic­tion to the court­room,” and last year hailed Scalia as a “lion of the law.”

A study led by Mercer Univer­sity law pro­fes­sor Jeremy Kidd con­cluded that Gorsuch was the sec­ond-most sim­i­lar to Scalia of the 21 prospec­tive jus­tices on a list Trump re­leased dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Gorsuch has a decade-long record on the fed­eral bench, and won unan­i­mous Se­nate ap­proval for his ap­peals-court post in 2006.

But he will face tough grilling from Democrats on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and, sur­viv­ing that, when the full Se­nate votes on his nom­i­na­tion.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) vowed to stage a fil­i­buster on the Se­nate floor even be­fore the pick was an­nounced. Shortly af­ter the an­nounce­ment, Sen. Ron Wy­den (D-Ore.) tweeted that “no se­na­tor who be­lieves in­di­vid­ual rights are re­served to the peo­ple, not the gov­ern­ment, can sup­port Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion.”

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer also ex­pressed reser­va­tions. “Gorsuch put corps over work­ers, been hos­tile to­ward women’s rights & been an ide­olog. Skep­ti­cal that he can be a strong, in­de­pen­dent Jus­tice,” Schumer tweeted.

The nom­i­na­tion came af­ter an ex­traor­di­nar­ily con­tentious day in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, with Democrats still fu­ri­ous over the pres­i­dent’s tem­po­rary travel ban on im­mi­grants from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries.

Also Tues­day, among other fast-mov­ing devel­op­ments:

Se­nate Democrats pulled a pro­ce­dural ma­neu­ver at a Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee meet­ing on Sen. Jeff Ses­sions (R-Ala.), de­lay­ing his ex­pected con­fir­ma­tion as at­tor­ney gen­eral by at least one day.

Democrats also boy­cotted Fi­nance Com­mit­tee hear­ings to con­sider two key Cabi­net nom­i­nees — Steven Mnuchin at Trea­sury and Thomas Price at Health and Hu­man Ser­vices — claim­ing each re­quired fur­ther vet­ting.

MoveOn.org and Re­sist Trump New York or­ga­nized protests — dubbed “What the f--k, Chuck?” — tar­get­ing Schumer at his home in Brook­lyn. The crowd, which de­manded that New York’s se­nior se­na­tor be harder on Trump, grew to 3,000 at Grand Army Plaza be­fore protesters marched to the se­na­tor’s Prospect Park home.

Mean­while, Schumer was in Washign­ton lead­ing the ef­fort to de­lay a vote on Ses­sions us­ing a

pro­ce­dural trick known as the “two-hour rule,” which bars Se­nate com­mit­tee meet­ings from con­tin­u­ing past 2 p.m.

Democrats on the com­mit­tee gave lengthy speeches, with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) drag­ging out the clock for 23 min­utes, in part by recit­ing a speech by Ron­ald Rea­gan.

Schumer an­nounced his in­ten­tions on Twit­ter — mid-hear­ing — at 1:21 p.m.: “The Amer­i­can peo­ple need an­swers on exec or­ders from Sen. Ses­sions. Jud Cmte shouldn’t pro­ceed un­til we get them so I’ll in­voke the 2hr rule.”

Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee chair Sen. Chuck Grass­ley (R-Iowa) — who gave Democrats the lee­way to vent — said the vote would be de­layed un­til 10:30 a.m. Wed­nes­day.

As Democrats fought to de­lay hear­ings on Trump’s Cabi­net picks, the White House and GOP se­na­tors fought back fu­ri­ously.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Sean Spicer an­grily called the de­lay tac­tics “ridicu­lous.”

“The mere idea they’re not even show­ing up to hear­ings is truly out­ra­geous,” he said.

Fi­nance Com­mit­tee Chair Or­rin Hatch (R-Utah) went fur­ther.

“They ought to stop pos­tur­ing and act­ing like id­iots,” he griped. “I’m very dis­ap­pointed in this kind of crap. This is the most pa­thetic thing I’ve seen in my whole life in the United States Se­nate.”

The Demo­cratic walk­out stalled de­lib­er­a­tions be­cause Fi­nance Com­mit­tee rules re­quire that at least one Demo­crat be present for votes.

Sen. Pa­trick Toomey (R-Pa.) said the move was un­prece­dented. “We did not in­flict this kind of ob­struc­tion­ism on Pres­i­dent Obama,” he said.

But in 2013, when Democrats con­trolled the Se­nate, Repub­li­cans boy­cotted a com­mit­tee vote on Gina McCarthy to head the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, tem­po­rar­ily stalling it.

And Democrats are still smart­ing from Se­nate Repub­li­cans’ re­fusal to even hold a hear­ing on Obama’s March 2016 nom­i­na­tion of Judge Mer­rick Gar­land to fill the Scalia seat. A con­fir­ma­tion would have given the court a ma­jor­ity of Demo­cratic ap­pointees for the first time since 1969.

Trump, the for­mer star of TV’s “The Ap­pren­tice,” had sum­moned Gorsuch and the other top fi­nal­ist, Thomas Hardi­man, 49, of Pitts­burgh, to ap­pear in DC, build­ing an­tic­i­pa­tion for the dra­matic, re­al­ity-TV-like re­veal.

Repub­li­cans hoped an an­nounce­ment this week on the Supreme Court choice would pro­vide time for con­fir­ma­tion be­fore the Se­nate re­cess sched­uled to start on April 8, and po­ten­tially let the new jus­tice hear cases dur­ing the high court's cur­rent nine-month term.

Dems will be hard-pressed to stop the nom­i­na­tion, given the 52-48 mem­ber­ship ad­van­tage Repub­li­cans hold in the Se­nate.

Un­der cur­rent rules, Repub­li­cans need 60 votes to bring the nom­i­na­tion to the Se­nate floor if the fil­i­buster pro­ceeds.

But Repub­li­cans could elim­i­nate the fil­i­buster for Supreme Court ap­point­ments with a sim­ple ma­jor­ity vote — in­vok­ing the so-called “nu­clear op­tion.”

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Sen. Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky.) has vowed that law­mak­ers will con­firm Trump’s nom­i­nee.

The po­lit­i­cal lean­ings of the high court nom­i­nee are of vi­tal im­por­tance to Democrats, as the new court could de­cide cases af­fect­ing con­tro­ver­sial is­sues such as im­mi­gra­tion, vot­ing rights, abor­tion, af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion and transgender rights.

Sen. Jeff Ses­sions At­tor­ney Gen­eral P U D EL H

P U D EL H Stephen Mnuchin Trea­sury

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