After meeting Tuesday with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he had “serious concerns” about President Donald Trump’s pick and that he refused to answer some questions.
“I thought there was a deliberate strategy to duck the hard questions,” Schumer told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Schumer said it was “deeply, deeply troubling” that Gorsuch declined to answer questions about certain topics he felt Gorsuch may have to rule on as a Supreme Court justice.
Given Trump’s attacks on judges both on the campaign trail and as President, the Democratic leader said “the bar for a Supreme Court nominee to prove that he can be independent has never been higher.”
Schumer said he asked Gorsuch “straightforward and direct questions that would demonstrate whether he could clear that bar.” He said he asked Gorsuch whether a “Muslim ban” would be unconstitutional, referring to the President’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Schumer said he also asked about the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits Presidents from receiving payments from foreign governments and is often referenced with regard to the conflicts of interest Trump’s family business empire presents.
“He refused to even say what the framers thought about that clause,” Schumer said.
“This President is testing fundamental underpinnings of our democracy and its institutions,” the Democratic leader added. “These times deserve answers, and Judge Gorsuch did not provide them. I have serious, serious concerns about this nominee.”
Schumer also said that Gorsuch should have to earn 60 votes in the Senate in order to be confirmed. If Democrats refuse to support Gorsuch’s nomination, Senate Republicans may try to change the rules and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.