Top Senate Democrat says has ‘serious concerns’ about court nominee Gorsuch

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By Susan Cornwell and Lawrence Hurley | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Senate Democratic leader Chuck
Schumer said on Tuesday he had “serious, serious concerns” about
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch,
saying the judge had dodged questions aimed at gauging his
judicial independence.

Schumer told reporters after he met with Gorsuch that the
nominee declined to answer questions such as whether a ban on
Muslim immigration would be constitutional or comment on the
Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution that bars
officeholders from accepting money from foreign powers.

Supreme Court nominees routinely avoid weighing in on
pending legal disputes they could end up casting a vote on.
Schumer said he was seeking Gorsuch’s views on broader
principles that he believed the nominee should be able to
answer.

“The judge today avoided answers like the plague,” Schumer
told reporters.

“I have serious, serious concerns about this nominee,” he
added.

Schumer’s questions to Gorsuch followed Trump’s travel ban
on refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The ban, which Trump said was needed to protect the United
States from Islamist militants, was suspended by a federal
judge, pending an appeal by the U.S. government.

Schumer also addressed concerns raised in a lawsuit filed by
ethics lawyers accusing Trump of allowing his businesses to
accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the
U.S. Constitution.

Schumer said he had not made a decision on whether or not he
would support Gorsuch, who Trump nominated to a vacant seat on
the high court last week.

Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate 52-48 but
Schumer insisted that Gorsuch would need to win 60 votes, rather
than a simple majority, to move toward confirmation. Democrats
can seek to use a procedural maneuver to block a vote if
Republicans do not have enough votes.

Gorsuch, a conservative federal appeals court judge based in
Denver, is meeting senators ahead of his confirmation hearing.



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