Two Senate Democrats Announce They Will Vote Yes On Gorsuch For SCOTUS

March 30, 2017 4:47 p.m.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) on Thursday announced separately that they will vote next week to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. They are so far the only Democrats to announce support for Gorsuch.

“After considering his record, watching his testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and meeting with him twice, I will vote to confirm him to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court,” Manchin said in a statement.

He said that he found Gorsuch “to be an honest and thoughtful man.”

“I hold no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court justice,” Manchin said. “Senators have a constitutional obligation to advice and consent on a nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy and, simply put, we have a responsibility to do our jobs as elected officials.”

“After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation,” Heitkamp said in a statement.

She said that she expects Gorsuch to “follow through” as a check on the executive and legislative branches.

“This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland. Senate Republicans played politics at its worst,” Heitkamp said. “But I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right.”

The Supreme Court seat to which Gorsuch is nominated remains open because Republicans refused to give President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland a hearing — let alone a vote — last year.

While Manchin and Heitkamp are the only Democrats to announce support for Gorsuch so far, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told reporters on Thursday that she is “torn” about how to vote.

“It’s obviously a difficult situation, and both alternatives have a lot of danger,” McCaskill said, referring to Democrats’ options.

Senate Democrats can either filibuster Gorsuch, which will likely lead to Republicans invoking the so-called nuclear option to change rules and confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority vote, or they can let the vote go ahead and retain the option to filibuster if another vacancy on the court comes up.

This post has been updated.

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