Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) claimed Thursday that if Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court, his votes would not be “legitimate.”
During an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Merkley said confirming Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court would "destroy the integrity of the Senate."
Merkley said that a Supreme Court seat was “stolen” from former President Barack Obama when Senate Republicans did not act on the nomination of his nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
“If one court seat is stolen from a president and shipped to another president, the temptation will be to do that forever more,” he said. “It highly, highly politicizes the court.”
He argued that if Gorsuch were to sit on the court, "every 5-4 decision will be one we’ll look at and say ‘Well, you know, it’s not really legitimate because that Supreme Court justice wasn't really legitimate.’ ”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called for Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination. Senate Republican leadership has indicated that they may seek to use the nuclear option in order to confirm Gorsuch, which would allow them to circumvent the 60-vote threshold required to end debate on his nomination and allow the Senate to confirm Gorsuch with only a simple majority vote.
Democrats used the nuclear option to confirm district and circuit court judges during the Obama administration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday the Senate will vote on Gorsuch on April 7.
Merkley said that he favors requiring Supreme Court nominees to receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed.
"If we change to a simple majority, what it means is the next president will have an easier time of getting their court nominees confirmed, and might be tempted to go further to the left or the right outside of the mainstream,” he said.
He claimed that “Obama went right down the middle,” but “unfortunately, President Trump has not."
“That’s really what the super majority is intended to prevent,” he said.
(H/T Real Clear Politics)