First two Democrats back Trump's US Supreme Court pick

By REUTERS
March 31, 2017 05:09
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WASHINGTON - Senators Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp on Thursday became the first Democrats to support the confirmation of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, giving Republicans two of eight Democratic votes needed to avoid a nasty fight on the US Senate floor next week.

Both West Virginia's Manchin and North Dakota's Heitkamp are up for re-election next year in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

"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," Manchin said in a statement. Manchin met with the nominee for a second time on Wednesday night.

Heitkamp said that Gorsuch "has a record as a balanced, meticulous and well-respected jurist who understands the rule of law."

If confirmed by the Senate to fill a vacancy created by the February 2016 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch, 49, would restore the nine-seat high court's conservative majority.

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