Politics

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has made up his mind on Gorsuch

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch appears on Capitol Hill in Washington for his confirmation hearing this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch appears on Capitol Hill in Washington for his confirmation hearing this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee. AP

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson announced Monday that he will vote against Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

“Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions.”

Nelson also made clear he would join Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who last week urged his colleagues to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination.

“I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation,” Nelson said.

Nelson faces reelection in 2018 and is a top target of national Republicans, who have been pressuring him to back Gorsuch. In 2006, they noted, Nelson voted against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito — but did not join the filibuster against him.

“In the past, Nelson thought nominees deserved an up or down vote,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Monday in a statement. “Remember, in 2006, Nelson voted for cloture to end the filibuster on Judge Alito’s nomination. The same year, Nelson joined his Senate colleagues to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in a unanimous vote. Clearly Nelson has been in Washington way too long and is forgetting he represents Florida, not Washington liberals.”

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