- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2017

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte said Monday that she hopes there are at least eight Democrats who will support Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, and said people would do well to question the motivations of Democrats who would try to throw up potential blockades.

“I sure hope that there will be eight Democrats to go along, because if they don’t support this nominee, then I guess my question would be who … President Trump could nominate would they support,” Ms. Ayotte said on Fox News.

Ms. Ayotte, a Republican former senator from New Hampshire, has been acting as Judge Gorsuch’s guide around Capitol Hill as he meets with senators ahead of his confirmation hearings, which kick off Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Because here you have someone who you’ve seen the reaction from the legal community from both sides of the aisle,” Ms. Ayotte said, saying Judge Gorsuch received the highest rating from the American Bar Association.

She also said his judicial record shows “independence” and that he is someone who can clearly communicate the law.

“And so I just think that you really have to ask yourselves if they’re going to block Judge Gorsuch, are they doing it just to block him and just to be obstructionists?” she said. “Or really, what are the principles that drive that? So I think that’s the question they have to ask themselves.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat and judiciary committee member, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday he’d be prepared to filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s nomination if he concludes the judge is outside the mainstream.

Republicans hold an effective 52-48 majority in the Senate, and so at least eight Democrats would have to support the nomination to break a 60-vote filibuster threshold if lawmakers like Mr. Blumenthal do indeed decide to go down that path.

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