January 31, 2017

Udall, Heinrich skeptical of Trump’s SCOTUS pick

United States Supreme Court

New Mexico’s senators, both Democrats, reacted to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich expressed concern over the refusal of Senate Republicans to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, the nominee of former President Barack Obama. Because of that,  the U.S. Supreme Court has been one justice short for nearly a full year, after Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016.

“After ignoring Judge Garland’s nomination for purely partisan reasons, Senate Republicans are already talking about changing the Senate rules to confirm Trump’s nominee if Democrats don’t simply defer,” Heinrich wrote in a statement.

Related: Tracking where New Mexico’s U.S. Senators stand and how they voted on Trump’s nominees

Heinrich also appeared to signal he would support a filibuster of Gorsuch.

“New Mexicans have made it clear to me that now more than ever they want an independent judiciary committed to defending the Constitution and the rule of law,” Heinrich said. “I agree and any nomination to the highest court in the land should require more than a simple majority vote to ensure as much.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, meanwhile, said he wanted a more “mainstream” nominee.

“I will thoroughly review the record of Judge Gorsuch and listen to the people of New Mexico before deciding how I will proceed with considering his nomination and how I will vote,” Udall said. “However, I almost always disagreed with Justice Scalia’s opinions and politics, and I believe the nation would be better off with a more mainstream, centrist justice in his seat.”

Udall did say Gorsuch’s stance on reproductive rights would be key to his decision and noted that Trump vowed to nominate a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I want to be clear where I stand: Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for over 40 years, and I will fight any effort to reverse the law and take away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions,” Udall said.