Today, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia became the first Democrat to announce he plans to vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Shortly after his announcement, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota also announced she would vote to confirm Gorsuch. Manchin released a press statement announcing his decision on Twitter:
I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/MpVbaqf0LB
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 30, 2017
Manchin says, “Just as I did when Merrick Garland was nominated, I met with Judge Gorsuch and evaluated his qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court.” He continues, “Judge Gorsuch has been questioned by the Judiciary Committee; Senators have met with him; and soon, we will cast our votes. After considering his record, watching his testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and meeting with him twice, I will vote to confirm him to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court.” Sen. Manchin concludes, “I hold no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court Justice.”
Senator Heitkamp also released a statement on Twitter:
I will vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's my full statement: pic.twitter.com/pDdhde7mGF
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) March 30, 2017
“After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation,” Heitkamp says. Heitkamp goes on to say that Republicans “played politics at its worst” with Judge Merrick Garland but adds, “I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Manchin and Heitkamp are two of ten Democratic Senators who are up for reelection in 2018 in states which Trump won last year. It was expected that some of those vulnerable Democrats would peel off from the progressives in order to avoid creating a campaign issue that can be used against them next year.
Earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced he would not be voting for Gorsuch and called for a filibuster to block his confirmation. So far, 33 Senate Democrats have said they will vote against him. According to polls, a plurality of Americans and a solid majority of Republicans want to see Gorsuch confirmed.