Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is under increasingly intense pressure to back the nomination of fellow Coloradan Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
A slew of newspaper editorials, endorsements from prominent in-state legal groups, and a new ad-campaign have pinned the Colorado Democrat between Gorsuch-enthusiasts in the state’s legal establishment, and the ascendant radical wing of his own party.
The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group that has put $10 million behind a national effort to confirm Gorsuch, launched a new ad criticizing the senator’s recalcitrance to back Gorsuch, who was born in Denver and keeps his chambers there.
The Judge William E. Doyle Inn of Court, a prestigious professional organization of judges and lawyers in Colorado, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsing their colleague’s nomination. The group’s membership spans the ideological spectrum.
“Judge Gorsuch’s strength of character and intellect is valued by our Inn and the Colorado legal community,” the letter reads. “The Supreme Court would be well-served by someone with these characteristics. We encourage the Judiciary Committee and U.S. Senate to give Judge Gorsuch due consideration that his record and dedication to the ideals of the legal profession deserve.”
Another coalition of some 200 members, composed of both Republicans and Democrats, sent a letter to Bennet and his colleague GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, urging him to confirm Gorsuch. “[W]e all agree that Judge Gorsuch is exceptionally well-qualified to join the Supreme Court. He deserves an up or down vote.”
The states two largest newspapers have also endorsed Gorsuch’s nomination. The Denver Post has written on the subject twice, once urging President Donald Trump to consider Gorsuch for the Court’s current vacancy, and a second time urging Democrats to back him.
The second largest paper in the state, the Colorado Springs Gazette, trained its editorial pressure on Bennet himself.
“If Bennet wants to show more unwavering loyalty to the Democratic Party, he will do as requested by minority leadership,” they write. “If he wants to do right by Colorado, he will make Gorsuch the only Coloradan on the Supreme Court since Byron “Whizzer” White, who retired in 1993 and remains the only Coloradan to serve on the court.”
Justice White earned the nickname “Whizzer” as a halfback at the University of Colorado. He was runner-up for the 1937 Heisman Trophy before the Pittsburg Pirates drafted him fourth overall in the NFL draft of 1938. White boasts more NFL rushing yards than any other Supreme Court justice.
Gorsuch’s hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin on March 21.
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