- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2017

With senators back home this week, the fight over Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch has shifted to the states, where conservative activists are hoping to make red-state Democrats feel the heat.

The Judicial Crisis Network said it’s running television and digital ads in Missouri and Indiana, hoping to pressure Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly to back the judge.

The network is also staging events this week in nearly a dozen states won by President Trump last year but represented by Democratic senators. It’s part of a full-court press this week from conservative groups who figured one of the best times to reach lawmakers was when they are back home with their constituents.

“We are reminding senators — especially those that are going to be up for re-election in 2018 — the importance of this pick, that it was Donald Trump’s pick to make,” said Mallory Quigley, communications director for Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization that is staging events outside the offices of four Senate Democrats.

The GOP holds 52 seats, meaning that if Democrats attempt a filibuster, and barring a rules change, at least eight Democrats would have to back Judge Gorsuch for him to be confirmed.



With so much riding on the Supreme Court, both conservatives and liberals are battling for the vote of each swing Democratic senator.

The conservative side appears to be outspending the liberals, which could suggest an enthusiasm gap that would work in Judge Gorsuch’s favor.

People for the American Way, a prominent liberal group, did launch an ad earlier this month that ran in 12 key states saying Judge Gorsuch’s record on the federal appeals court showed he put “powerful interests ahead of the American people.”

Spokesman Drew Courtney also said PFAW is urging its members to show up at town halls and visit senators offices “to express their opposition to Judge Gorsuch.”

Anisha Singh, the campaign manager at the Center for American Progress, said her group’s state partners are participating in town halls, and they’re reporting back that Democrats are either strongly opposed to Judge Gorsuch or have voiced hesitation to his confirmation.

Judge Gorsuch will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee the week of March 20 for his confirmation hearing.

Despite liberal groups’ efforts, Republicans remain firmly behind the judge. That puts the battle squarely among Democrats.

In Missouri, the Judicial Crisis Network’s television and digital ads call Judge Gorsuch a defender of religious liberty, and say Ms. McCaskill has lost touch with Missouri values by supporting Obamacare and taxpayer money going to fund abortions.

In Indiana, the ads say Mr. Donnelly has a chance to show independence from Democrats’ liberal wing by backing Judge Gorsuch.

All told, the JCN has spent $1.3 million to pressure Mr. Donnelly and $1 million to pressure Ms. McCaskill.

The Tea Party Patriots plan to host 200 house parties across the country Monday, the eighth anniversary of the start of the tea party movement, where attendees will be asked to call senators and write letters to the editor backing Judge Gorsuch.

Concerned Veterans for America, meanwhile, is hosting a tele-town hall series called, “The Future of the Courts,” where elected officials and legal experts call for Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed.

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