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Schumer: Trump attacks on judges raises bar ‘even higher’ for Gorsuch

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

February 05, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired a warning shot at President Trump and his Supreme Court nominee after Trump sent out Saturday morning tweets criticizing a federal judge in Seattle for implementing a nationwide restraining order on his executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

Early Saturday morning, Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the “opinion of this so-called judge,” on the morning after Judge James Robart slapped a temporary restraining order on the president’s one-week old executive order that temporarily bans non-U.S. citizens from Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen for 90 days.

He said the move “is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

“The President’s attack on Judge James Robart, a Bush appointee who passed with 99 votes, shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution, making it more important that the Supreme Court serve as an independent check on the administration,” Schumer said in a statement.

“With each action testing the Constitution, and each personal attack on a judge, President Trump raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court,” Schumer added, though he isn’t known as a hawk in abiding by the Constitution. His ability to be an independent check will be front and center throughout the confirmation process.”

Most Senate Democrats already oppose Trump’s pick to fill what many are calling a “stolen” Supreme Court seat, a reference to the Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a confirmation hearing for Obama’s pick to take Scalia’s place, Judge Merrick Garland, during an election year that would choose a new chief executive. In the Democrats’ weekly address, Sen. Ed Markey accused Trump of “trying to rig the Supreme Court against hardworking Americans.”

Still, some Senate Democrats, like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, are willing to give Gorsuch a chance in the confirmation process.

It will be an uphill battle for Democrats to stop Republicans from confirming Gorsuch. As it stands the confirmation is subject to a 60-vote threshold. However, should Democrats attempt to filibuster the nomination, Republicans could turn to the “nuclear option,” a parliamentary procedure that would allow the 52-member Republican majority to pass Gorsuch with just 51 votes.

Trump has already urged Republican senators to “go nuclear.”