WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took aim Monday at House Minority Leader Charles Schumer threat to block President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
“He’s only going to support a Supreme Court nominee that he approves of?” Gingrich said on Fox and Friends. “Well, he ain’t president of the United States. He didn’t get elected. It’s a nutty and indefensible position that Schumer has taken.”
Gingrich’s comments came a day after Schumer told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Democrats would fight it tooth-and-nail, as long as we have to” to block a staunch conservative nominee.
“If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open,” Schumer said.
Neither Trump nor the White House immediately responded to Schumer’s threat.
Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had not scrutinized the backgrounds of all 21 potential Supreme Court nominees President Trump has mentioned in the past four months, but noted all were conservative with stances aligned with the new president and that all had been backed by the conservative Federalist Society. (The conservative Heritage Foundation also vetted potential Trump nominees to replace the Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.)
Democrats are still bristling over Republicans’ stonewalling of President Barack Obama’s March nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
Republicans would need 60 votes to stop debate on a nomination through a filibuster and hold only 52 Senate seats.
Democratic lawmakers and a host of civil rights, LGBT rights, abortion rights and civil liberties group fear a Trump nominee will shift the Supreme Court right on issues including abortion, immigration, civil rights, gay rights, disabilities, and transgender rights.
Trump said two weeks ago that he would nominate a replacement for within two weeks of his inauguration.
Trump has said he would nominate a conservative who opposes abortion rights and supports gun rights and allowing businesses who oppose birth control on religious grounds to not offer coverage to their employees.