WASHINGTON, D.C – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) released the following statement today on the Senate’s confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court by the historically low vote of 54 to 45. In the past, confirmation of a Supreme Court justice required 60 votes in the Senate. But today’s confirmation comes just 24 hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the unprecedented step of changing the Senate’s rules, known as the “nuclear option”, lowering the threshold for approval from 60 votes to 50. Rep. Grijalva released the following statement:
“Republicans succeeded in robbing President Obama’s nominee of even a hearing to serve on the Supreme Court, and hand delivered that seat to Neil Gorsuch instead,” Rep. Grijalva said. “In the process, they irreversibly undermined the filibuster, a key protection for the minority party in the Senate. This scorched-earth politicking erodes the civility of Congress’s Upper Chamber, and all but guarantees our highest court will grow more polarized than it already is. Going forward, presidents will not seek consensus candidates like Obama did in Merrick Garland – they will push ideologically extreme nominees knowing that a threshold of 50 is much easier to reach than 60.
“Gorsuch is the perfect poster boy for this fact – he’s sided with corporations over human beings throughout his career; he’s unwilling to overturn Citizens United, which has placed our democracy on the auction block to corporate interests and the ultra-wealthy; and he refused to answer even the most basic questions during his confirmation hearing. It’s clear from McConnell’s decision to change Senate rules that Gorsuch never could have met the 60 vote threshold that all past Supreme Court judges did. This toxic process, including the Republican’s appalling dismissal of their constitutional duty under the Obama presidency, has undermined Gorsuch’s own credibility, permanently scarred the Senate, and politicized the Supreme Court. Republicans call this a victory; I call it a sham.”