Coons: Senate Democrats should give Gorsuch a committee hearing

WASHINGTON- Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Senate Democrats should not deny a Judiciary Committee hearing to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee U.S. District Court Judge Neil Gorsuch as Republicans did to Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s last nominee to the high court.

“I have been reported as saying that even though I thought that was an unjustified and offensive break with precedent, I would not respond in kind and I think that we should give Judge Gorsuch a hearing and a vote on committee,” Coons told an informal gathering of reporters on Wednesday.

Garland, a D.C. federal appellate judge was nominated in March 2016 to fill the seat vacated by deceased Associate Justice Antonin Scalia but Senate Republicans refused to consider Garland’s nomination.

On Tuesday evening Trump appointed Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to fill the appointment vacancy created by the expiration of Garland’s nomination.

Gorsuch is considered to be a strict constructionist and many Senate Democrats have expressed concerned over Gorsuch’s rulings in cases related to women’s rights and the death penalty.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said a 60-vote threshold must be met in order to confirm any Supreme Court nominee.

Sixty affirmative votes are necessary to break a filibuster and many Democrats have said they will oppose any nominee they deem as too extreme.

Republicans could then in-turn vote to invoke the “nuclear option,” which would change Senate rules so as to allow the nominee to pass with a simple majority vote.

Coons was asked if he would sympathize with Republicans for invoking the nuclear option in light of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to do so in previous years to break Republican filibusters aimed at blocking many of then-President Obama’s nominees.

“I regret that Republican obstructionism was so persistent and so severe and so successful in blocking nominees for most of the departments of the federal government that that frustration boiled over,” Coons said. “My concern is how we ever find our way back toward being able to work together.”

Coons was asked whether he would oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.

“It’s premature to come out and say I oppose this nominee having literally never met him, having not read a single opinion by him,” Coons said.

Coons told reporters that although he believes Gorsuch is entitled to a committee hearing and vote that he would take a wait-and-see approach before determining whether the nominee should be given a full floor vote.

This article was republished with permission from Talk Media News