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Connecticut's US Sen. Blumenthal announces opposition to Gorsuch

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Sen. Claire McCaskill will oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and vote to support a Democratic filibuster of President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Blumenthal of CT and Brian Schatz of Hawaii became the latest Democratic senators to announce their opposition to Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appeals court judge in Denver whose conservative rulings make him an intellectual heir to the justice he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia.

Schumer, the New York Democrat, has vowed to block Gorsuch's nomination on Monday - and two other party members, Sens. Republicans need the support of six more Democrats to avoid a filibuster. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said they would vote for the Colorado jurist. McCaskill also warned that blocking Gorsuch could mean a worse pick in the view of Democrats.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer highlighted her remarks during Friday's briefing.

Gardner won our support in 2014 because Congress was dysfunctional and needed a fresh leader.

More than half of the Democratic caucus has already said they will take part in the filibuster, while close to a dozen are still undecided.

"It is obviously a really hard situation, that both alternatives, I think, have a lot of danger", McCaskill told reporters on Thursday. She added: "I refuse to vote to end debate on a nominee who refuses to provide any answers to my questions".

What happens in the Senate over the next several days could reverberate in future Supreme Court confirmation fights, and appears likely to make the process longer, nastier and even more political. Some Senate traditionalists have seen the nuclear option as damaging to the Senate's role, but many Republican senators have said they're willing to use it if Democrats block Gorsuch.

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This week, the Missouri incumbent was among four Democratic senators in states Trump carried in the 2016 election who were targeted with pro-Gorsuch ads by the National Rifle Association. Feinstein told reporters this week that she would wait until next week to make her decision known on the filibuster and how she would vote on Gorsuch's confirmation vote.

I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court.

Heitkamp said she expects Gorsuch to follow through on his promise of an independent judiciary that "acts as a proper check and balance on the other two branches of government".

Toomey's very public support for Gorsuch puts him at odds with his Democratic Sen.

Senate Democrats are finding themselves under huge pressure to close ranks for this unprecedented filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, first called for by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) last week. Harry Reid of Nevada and upset about the blockage of President Barack Obama's nominees to a powerful appellate court.

Democrats and Republicans have argued over whether Supreme Court nominees have always been held to a 60-vote standard in the past.

In an interview following his speech, Toomey said "to the extent that it's possible for me to be confident, I feel the confident the votes are there", to break the 60-vote threshold and approve Gorsuch with a simple majority.

But the Supreme Court blowup has been a long-time coming, and both parties share the blame.

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