March 29, 2017

Heinrich will vote against Gorsuch confirmation

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Official photo.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich will vote against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. He cited ties between the Donald Trump administration and Russia as one reason.

Heinrich also indicated he would join other Democrats in a rare filibuster of the Supreme Court nominee by not voting to invoke cloture. Sixty senators are needed to invoke cloture and end debate, moving toward a final vote. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate.

Heinrich’s Wednesday statement focused largely on the unpopular president, not Gorsuch.

“Given the multiple congressional and criminal investigations that are tainting this Administration, it would not be responsible to move forward with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee until these Russia-related allegations are resolved,” Heinrich said. “We simply cannot process a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land under these circumstances, especially since the court may be called upon to resolve matters related to these investigations.”

Heinrich is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and previously said former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort should testify about his work for a Russian billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin.

Earlier, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said he would vote against Gorsuch and would not vote to invoke cloture.

Heinrich did mention some areas in which he disagreed with Gorsuch.

“I share many of the concerns New Mexicans have expressed about Judge Gorsuch,” Heinrich said. “In particular, I’m concerned about his record of siding with large corporations over the rights of individuals and government action over the rights of citizens, and his boundless deference to executive power.”

The two New Mexico senators joined other Democrats, including some who are in swing states and up for election in 2018, in announcing they would filibuster the nomination.

Some believe this would prompt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and the Republican majority to use the “nuclear option” and get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees—and perhaps on all votes.