WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after Senate Republicans took a historic step to change Senate rules to advance the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court after failing to meet the 60-vote threshold:
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s extreme and unprecedented move today to change the Senate rules because there were not enough members prepared to support President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee undermines the deliberative nature and tradition of the United States Senate.
"I share many of the concerns New Mexicans have about Judge Neil Gorsuch. In particular, I’m concerned about his record of siding with large corporations over the rights of individuals and government action over the rights of citizens, and his boundless deference to executive power.
"Despite that widely shared assessment, Senate Democrats did not obstruct the well-established procedure for considering a Supreme Court nominee. We participated in hearings and vetting process for Judge Gorsuch. I met with Judge Gorsuch personally, and I carefully considered his judicial record and philosophy before concluding that I could not support his appointment.
"Our thorough consideration of Judge Gorsuch stands in stark contrast to how Senate Republicans treated President Obama’s nominee for the very same seat. After the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, in a shockingly transparent political maneuver, Majority Leader McConnell refused to allow fair consideration of Judge Merrick Garland and instructed his members to not even meet with him. Senate Republicans also refused to hold hearings for almost a full year.
"In addition, nearly every day we learn more about possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia’s manipulation of our presidential election. It is increasingly clear that President Trump and his team have not been forthright with the American people.
"It is irresponsible to move forward with President Trump’s lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court nominee before the multiple congressional and criminal investigations that are tainting the White House are resolved.
"Altering the rules of the Senate to force through a nominee to the Supreme Court under these circumstances is indefensible."