Senate Democrats are gearing up for a potentially ugly fight over Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, with some liberal activists urging them to do everything possible to block any nominee from the Republican president-elect.
Democrats are still seething over the Republican-led Senate’s decision last year to refuse to consider outgoing President Barack Obama’s nomination of appeals court judge Merrick Garland for a lifetime post on the court. The action had little precedent in U.S. history and prompted some Democrats to accuse Republicans of stealing a Supreme Court seat.
Trump last week vowed to announce his appointment within about two weeks of taking office on Friday. He said he would pick from among 20 candidates suggested by conservative legal groups to fill the lingering vacancy caused by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia last Feb. 13.
Scalia’s replacement could tilt the ideological leaning of the court for years to come, restoring the long-standing conservative majority that disappeared with Scalia’s death just at a time when it appeared liberals would get an upper hand on the bench.
Liberal groups are gearing up for a battle, with the People For the American Way calling the judges on Trump’s list of candidates “very extreme.”
“We’re hearing from Senate Democrats and parallel concern among outside groups that this is going to be a major fight,” said Marge Baker, the group’s executive vice president. “We’ll be arguing that Democrats use every means at their disposal to defeat the nominee. This is going to be ‘all hands on deck,’ using all means at our disposal.”