Liberal Groups Threaten Primary Challenges Over Gorsuch Support

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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A coalition of liberal groups have promised to bring primary challenges against Senate Democrats who support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The warning is levied against several Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018, who represent states President Donald Trump carried by significant margins. These senators include Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who represents Gorsuch’s home state of Colorado, is also under intense pressure from the state’s legal establishment to support his confirmation.

“If you’re voting against the interests of the vast majority of Americans by voting for someone like Gorsuch for this Supreme Court position, that should be one of many things that should open you up to primary challengers,” said Neil Sroka, communication director for Democracy for America, a liberal advocacy group boasting over 1 million members across the country.

Other left-wing groups have criticized Democrats for resistance to the Gorsuch nomination they characterize as tepid, especially when compared to the byzantine procedural maneuvering they deployed that stymied the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for weeks.

“Democrats have failed to demonstrate a strong, unified resistance to this nominee despite the fact that he is an ultra-conservative jurist who will undermine our basic freedoms and threaten the independence of the federal judiciary,” NARAL Pro Choice America, one of the nation’s largest pro-abortion lobbies, wrote in a letter sent to Senate Democrats. “We need you to do better.”

The letter was cosigned by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Communications Workers of America, MoveOn.org, and the Working Families Party.

Conservative groups have dominated the messaging around the Gorsuch nomination. The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group, has put $10 million behind a national effort to rally support for the Gorsuch nomination. The campaign has included significant ad buys in red states represented by Democratic senators.

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