Murphy says he opposes Gorsuch

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Sen. Chris Murphy speaking on the Senate floor.

Washington – Sen. Chris Murphy on Tuesday said he has decided to oppose the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court.

“I am deeply concerned about the politicization of the court, and its recent capture by corporate and special interests,” Murphy said in a statement. “I am convinced Judge Gorsuch would exacerbate that slide, and continue the activist bent of the existing court. For that reason, I cannot support him.”

Murphy is the latest in a steady stream of Democrats who voiced opposition to Gorsuch in the last few days. Nearly half of the Senate’s 46 Democrats say they will oppose his confirmation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he is waiting for responses from Gorsuch to a list of written questions before he makes up his mind on the nominee.

“I was deeply troubled by his failure to be more forthcoming,” Blumenthal said.

Gorsuch a judge on the Colorado-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was  grilled by Senate Judiciary Committee  members – including Blumenthal – for about 20 hours last week.

But the judge repeatedly avoided giving his personal view on issues and landmark Supreme Court decisions.

Gorsuch would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a reliably conservative jurist.

To many Democrats Gorsuch’s confirmation would push the Supreme Court even further to the right.

“The (John) Roberts court has swung dramatically in favor of the rights of corporations and special interests over those of individual Americans,” Murphy said. “I would have supported a mainstream nominee, but the risk that Judge Gorsuch will inject his political judgment into a process that already too often favors the rights of special interests or corporations over the rights of individuals is too great for him to earn my support.”

GOP leaders hope for a full Senate vote on April 3.

But Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer , D-N.Y., last week announced plans to filibuster Gorsuch. The GOP would need at least 60 votes to overcome the filibuster, but they hold only 52 seats in the Senate.

To push Gorsuch’s confirmation through, the Senate’s Republican leadership could adopt a rule change, dubbed the “nuclear option,” that would allow confirmation with only a simple majority of the chamber.

When they had control of the Senate in 2013, frustrated Senate Democratic leaders changed the rules so they could confirm district court and circuit court judges – as well as cabinet nominees – with a simple majority. But the rules change did not apply to Supreme Court nominees.

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