Top Dem won’t fall into line behind Schumer: ‘I’m not going to filibuster anybody’

With Democrats vowing to fight President Donald Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, one top Senate Democrat said he won’t be joining the effort.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin will not participate in any Senate filibuster of Trump’s pick to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Weekly Standard.

“I’m not going to filibuster anybody,” Manchin told the publication Tuesday before the president announced his choice of Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats intend to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination, keeping him from reaching the 60 votes necessary to move on to confirmation. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer vowed his party would fight to block any nominee “out of the mainstream,” setting the scene for a showdown over Trump’s choice of the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge.

Republicans, with a 52-48 majority, still need seven more Democrats to join Manchin, but some plan to filibuster anyone other than former President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, who did not get a hearing before Trump was sworn in.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz warned Democrats that it would be a “mistake” to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, which he said was Trump’s fulfillment of his promise to Americans.

In a statement released Tuesday, Manchin urged his “colleagues to put partisan politics aside and allow the vetting process to proceed.”

Manchin, who is up for reelection in 2018, said the GOP handling of Garland’s nomination was “disgraceful” in an interview on CNN on Wednesday. He understands why his fellow Democrats are upset but feels they should not obstruct Trump’s nominee now just as a form of retaliation.

“That’s not what we were sent here to do. That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m anxious to sit down with the new nominee to find out more about him, the West Virginia Democrat said.

“If you want the third branch of government to work, then you’ve got to have a nine-member Supreme Court,” he added.  “So if Republicans did something and now Democrats are going to do something, two wrongs don’t make a right.”

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Frieda Powers

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