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Shaheen Defends Filibuster, Says Gorsuch 'Too Extreme' For U.S. Supreme Court

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is defending an effort by Democrats to filibuster a confirmation vote on President Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch.

Speaking to NHPR’s Morning Edition, Shaheen said the move isn’t about politics.

“This is about the views of Judge Gorsuch. He is too extreme for most of the Democrats, which is why we’ve said we think President Trump should come up with another selection.”

  Shaheen and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan are among 41 Senate Democrats who plan to vote no on Gorsuch, reaching the threshold needed for a filibuster.  

Republicans say they are prepared to use the so-called nuclear option, which would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority.

A final vote is expected by the end of this week.

Shaheen says she doesn't question Gorsuch's qualifications, but argues he’s “not within the mainstream of American thinking.”

“His positions supporting corporations over individuals in his decision making. His record on women’s reproductive rights I find very troubling. He didn’t try and correct that record when he was asked about it at his hearing. I just don’t think he represents where I believe where most of my constituents are.”

The American Bar Association has given Gorsuch its highest rating, declaring him “well qualified” to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. But Shaheen says Gorsuch would be more conservative than Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat Gorsuch would fill.

“I think a judge that’s going to be on the Supreme Court for more than 40 years ought to have some bipartisan support," she said.

Shaheen said she does believe Democrats would be willing to consider a different nominee from Trump, but “it depends on who that nominee is.” She also cast blame on Republicans for politicizing the Supreme Court nomination process last year.

“The fact is when we saw Republicans refuse to act on Merrick Garland last year, that was politics. Let’s not kid ourselves,” she said.

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