- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, said he will join Democrats in filibustering Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation because the judge won’t pledge to overturn Supreme Court precedent on campaign finance, and at the same time, he worries the judge won’t follow precedent for abortion rights.

Mr. Sanders pointed to Citizens United, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that permitted broader spending in campaigns and political debates, as one of the key reasons for opposing President Trump’s nominee.

“I suspect that he will vote to undermined our democracy even further by supporting the elimination on all restrictions on campaign finance — something which the Republican leadership in this body wants,” Mr. Sanders said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Democrats questioned Judge Gorsuch about dark money in politics and Citizens United during his confirmation hearing last month, and they were unsatisfied that he would not divulge his personal views on the matter. Instead, the judge said Congress is the government body responsible for changing disclosure laws, not the Supreme Court.

Mr. Sanders also questioned Judge Gorsuch’s position on voting and abortion rights.

“I believe there is a strong likelihood that Judge Gorsuch would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and deny the women of this country the constitutional right to control their own bodies,” Mr. Sanders said. “This would be an outrage and I do not want to be a party to allowing that to happen.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, is expected to file cloture on Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation on Tuesday, which would end debate on the judge, but Democrats have promised to block the confirmation.

Judge Gorsuch would need 60 votes to overcome the filibuster led by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

All 52 Republicans are expected to back him, but only four Democrats have said they will not support a filibuster, meaning he needs four more senators from the Democratic Caucus to support him in order to overcome the filibuster.

But Mr. Schumer says Judge Gorsuch won’t get the 60 votes.

Mr. McConnell has said Republicans will go “nuclear” and change the Senate rules to overcome the filibuster if necessary.

“It should be unsettling to everyone that our colleagues from across the aisle have brought the Senate to this new low,” Mr. McConnell said. “The future of the senate will hang on their choice.”

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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