Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Sunday that he would filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and “use every tool that we have” if Gorsuch fails to disavow litmus tests on abortion and guns, among other things.
Gorsuch’s multi-day confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET on Monday.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, began by saying on MSNBC Sunday that Gorsuch would have to tell the committee that a ban on any religion is unconstitutional. Judges have said that religious bias motivated President Donald Trump’s recently blocked travel ban.
“Even if he can’t comment on the specific immigration case, he has to at least show that he respects the principle that the government can’t discriminate on the basis of religion; that a Muslim ban would violate the Constitution,” he said.
Blumenthal said he would hold Gorsuch to the same standard on Roe v. Wade, which set a precedent establishing abortion as a fundamental right, and gun control laws.
“I want to see that this nominee disavows and in fact discards the litmus tests that Donald Trump has set, including that he overturn Roe v. Wade, that he be pro-gun, anti-gun violence prevention measures and that he be conservative,” he said.
Slate’s Dalia Lithwick asked the senator if it was incumbent upon Gorsuch, should he have made a commitment to Trump about Roe v. Wade, “to clarify whether the President knows something that we need to know.”
Blumenthal responded that it was.
“There is a history here, and it’s almost unique, that Donald Trump has in fact established a litmus test promising, absolutely promising, that he would nominate someone who will overturn Roe v. Wade,” Blumenthal said. “If he fails to be very specific and forthcoming and direct in disavowing that claim, we have to assume inescapably that he has met the litmus test. On that issue, on other issues like the Second Amendment, where Donald Trump has said what his nominee would do. And so this nominee is really unique in that respect, and has a unique responsibility to be forthcoming.”
“Not only filibuster but use every tool that we have if he is in fact out of the mainstream in that way,” Blumenthal added when asked if he could filibuster Gorsuch. “Remember, we’re talking about respect for a well-established, long-accepted precedent. Roe v. Wade certainly fits that description and that kind of the out-of-the-mainstream thinking will cause me to filibuster and use every tool that I have at my disposal to block his nomination.