BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Metro Birmingham NAACP teamed up with other organizations for a rally that opposed the likely confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United State Supreme Court.
Chapter President Hezekiah Jackson IV gathered with several members in Kelly Ingram Park to make the announcement Thursday, minutes after a 55-45 vote in the Senate, short of the 60 votes needed to confirm Gorsuch.
Senate Republicans would later trigger the so-called “nuclear option” to get past a Democratic filibuster, voting to change the rules to allow a simple majority of 51 votes to confirm Gorsuch, instead of the 60-vote supermajority.
“We just think it’s important that (President Donald Trump) go back to the drawing board, and bring back someone who could get those 60 votes,” Jackson said. “I think it’s important that we all get the same message that this is still America. And all of us, who are Americans — that we are all entitled to the democratic process.”
Citing Gorsuch’s rulings as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Jackson called the judge “a serious setback to the civil and human rights gained in this country.”
Many Republicans believe that Gorsuch is qualified to take the seat once occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that Democrats would block any nominee put forth by the Trump administration, saying the “nuclear option” was the only option.
“The same Democrats currently attempting to block Judge Gorsuch’s nomination unanimously voted to confirm him to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006,” wrote Terry Lathan, chair of the Alabama Republican Party in a statement. “It’s time for the Senate Democrats to confirm Judge Gorsuch. The voters made their choice perfectly clear in November. The Alabama Republican Party is grateful to Senator Shelby and Senator Strange for supporting Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.”
“I think the country, as a whole, lost today,” Nancy Worley, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, told CBS 42.
Worley said that a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court ought to pass the more difficult threshold of 60 senate votes, and referenced Republican Sen. John McCain’s warning that changing the rules might be met with serious political consequences for the G.O.P.