A Democratic Senator has justified his decision to vote against Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, by citing the possibility that Trump could be impeached.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut made the remarks on the Senate floor and voted against Gorsuch during the April 3 Senate Judiciary Committee, The Independent reports.
Blumenthal referred to the impeachment of Richard Nixon in his remarks.
"The independence of our judicial branch has never been more threatened or more important," said Blumenthal. "The possibility of a Supreme Court needing to enforce a subpoena against the president of the United States is far from idle speculation. It has happened before in United States vs. Nixon."
Gorsuch came through that vote 11-9 and now faces a final confirmation vote in the Senate on April 7.
Substantial sections of the Republican Party would have to back the impeachment of Trump for it to be successful because the GOP controls both chambers of Congress.
Democrats claim they have 41 senators ready to oppose Trump's nominee, enough to filibuster Gorsuch. In the Senate, 60 votes are required to overcome the filibuster.
Republicans say if the Democrats do block Gorsuch, then they will resort to an emergency measure to do away with the filibuster right and confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority.
"Democrats are now being pushed by far-left interest groups into doing something truly detrimental to this body and to our country," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "They seem to be hurtling toward the abyss this time, and trying to take the Senate with them. They need to reconsider."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agreed.
"We will not have a successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee," Graham said on April 3, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Because if we have to, we will change the rules."
But Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in the Senate, accused McConnell and the Republicans of hypocrisy because of their refusal to give a hearing to former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
"What the majority leader did to Merrick Garland by denying him even a hearing and a vote is even worse than a filibuster... For him to accuse Democrats of the first partisan filibuster on the Supreme Court belies the facts, belies the history, belies the basic truth," added Schumer, according to The Independent.
The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee broke down along party lines, with the committee's 11 Republicans backing Gorsuch and nine Democrats opposing the former appeals court judge.
"If they oppose Neil Gorsuch, they will oppose any nominee of this president," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said of the Democrats, according to the Los Angeles Times.