WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said Thursday he will vote against confirming fellow Coloradan Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The Senate on Thursday voted to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” paving the way for Republicans to break a Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch, who sits on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and lives in Boulder, on Friday.
Bennet voted against the filibuster, saying Gorsuch deserved an up-or-down vote and that he’s a qualified judge.
“Judge Gorsuch is a very conservative judge and not one that I would have chosen. For the reasons I have said, I had concerns about his approach to the law. Those concerns grow even more significant as we confront the reality that President (Donald) Trump may have several more opportunities to transform the Court with a partisan majority.
“For all these reasons, I will vote no on the nomination.”
The controversial move to change the Senate rules will allow filibusters of Supreme Court picks to be broken with only 51 votes instead of 60. Republicans control the Senate, 52-46 with two independents who caucus with Democrats.
The Senate is expected to vote to confirm Gorsuch on Friday.
“Today’s changes to the Senate’s rules have done lasting damage to the Supreme Court and our process for approving nominees,” Bennet said. “With these changes, justices may now be confirmed with the narrowest partisan majority. Allowing the judiciary to become a pure extension of our partisan politics is precisely the outcome our Founders feared. Moving forward, lifetime appointments to our highest court could become just another political exercise.
“We cannot ignore this new reality, and I am forced to consider President Trump’s current nominee – and all future nominees – in that context.