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Udall to oppose Gorsuch for Supreme Court

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Udall said Friday that he will oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, partly because the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge failed to answer key questions during his Senate confirmation hearings this week.

Sen. Tom Udall

Sen. Tom Udall

The announcement by Udall, D-N.M., came after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call on Thursday to block Gorsuch’s nomination with a filibuster.

“I have met with Judge Gorsuch, followed the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and studied his record, and decided that I can’t support his confirmation,” Udall said in a statement. “He failed to answer questions that are critical for me – his position on the rights of working mothers, whether women can choose their own health care decisions, LGBTQ rights, and dark money in our elections.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., also voiced concerns about Gorsuch late Friday but stopped short of saying he would oppose his nomination.

“Sen. Heinrich increasingly shares many of the concerns New Mexicans have voiced about Judge Gorsuch,” said Whitney Potter, his spokeswoman.

Udall, a former New Mexico attorney general, said controversies swirling around President Donald Trump factored into his decision to oppose Gorsuch, a Westerner who has drawn generally strong reviews for his intellect and courtroom demeanor.

“In just the last couple of months, the president has taken constitutionally questionable actions affecting Muslim immigrants and freedom of speech and religion,” Udall said. “The FBI is investigating his campaign, and he faces scrutiny about whether his company is benefiting from his office. All of these issues could well come before the Supreme Court.

“It’s more important now than ever before that we have neutral, clear-minded justices sitting on the bench. But Judge Gorsuch didn’t convince me that he would be an independent voice on the court.”