Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (Dem.) blasted US President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court and to fill the vacancy following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia who died at age 79 on Feb. 13, 2016.
“This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court,” Merkley said in a statement.
Gorsuch, who is 49, has served for over a decade as a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Denver-based Tenth Circuit.
According to Merkley, this is a stolen seat. “This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a President of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance.”
“If President Trump were serious about healing the divisions in America and undoing the damage wrought by Senate Republicans last year, he could have named Merrick Garland to fill this seat,” Merkley said, adding, “Garland is a centrist jurist who is respected on both sides of the aisle. Instead, he doubled down on division by picking an ideological and extreme nominee to satisfy the far right.”
In a statement, the White House pointed out that “Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate without opposition on July 20, 2006, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Indeed, 11 current Democrat Senators—including Minority Leader Schumer, Sen. Leahy, and Sen. Feinstein—and 20 current Republican Senators were in office when Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote, without opposition.”
For his part, colleague Senator Ron Wyden (Dem.) said that Gorsuch’s “opposition to legal death with dignity as successfully practiced in Oregon is couched in the sort of jurisprudence that justified the horrific oppression of one group after another in our first two centuries.”
“No Senator who believes that individual rights are reserved to the people, and not the government, can support this nomination,” Wyden said.