More Democratic senators voice opposition to Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic senators on Friday voiced their opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, ahead of an expected contentious confirmation fight next week on the U.S. Senate floor.

"Today, we still know very little about Judge Gorsuch's core beliefs ... he has left us with substantial doubt," Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a statement, adding the judge had not been forthcoming with senators about his views on key issues.

Separately Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said Gorsuch's record as a judge was troubling and he had not shown that he would challenge executive overreach.

RELATED: Democrats who will vote no on Neil Gorsuch's confirmation

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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (New York)

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Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont)

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Sen. Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)

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Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon)

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 Sen. Patty Murray (Washington)

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) 

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Sen. Jeff Merkley (Oregon) 

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Sen. Tom Carper (Delaware)

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)

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Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida)

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Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey)

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Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii)

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Sen. Tom Udall (New Mexico) 

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Sen. Jack Reed (Rhode Island)

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Sen. Chris Murphy (Connecticut) 

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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) 

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Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia)

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Sen. Al Franken (Minnesota)

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Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) 

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Sen. Ed Markey (Massachusetts)

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Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Maryland)

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Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Illinois) 

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire) 

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Sen. Gary Peters (Michigan)

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Sen. Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire)

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)

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Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) 

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Sen. Pat Leahy (Vermont)

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Sen. Ben Cardin (Maryland)

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Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) questions Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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"His refusal to answer questions on long-decided cases or condemn attacks on the judiciary during the hearing demonstrates that he is outside of the legal mainstream," Schatz said.

Their statements come a day after the first two Democrats said they would back Trump's pick, giving Republicans who control the chamber two of the eight Democratic votes they need to avoid a fight.

Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, two Democrats who face reelection in states that voted for Trump last year, on Thursday said they would vote for Gorsuch.

SEE ALSO: High court pick Gorsuch could help decide fate of Trump's climate policy

Most Democrats have said they would support blocking a confirmation vote using a procedural hurdle called a filibuster that requires 60 votes to allow a confirmation vote, although some want to avoid such a move.

The confirmation vote itself would require a simple majority in the chamber, which Republicans control 52-48.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on sending Gorsuch's nomination to the Senate floor on April 3. Republican Senate leaders hope to confirm him on April 7.

RELATED: Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues

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Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee. President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill the seat that had left vacant with the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

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Abortion

Gorsuch has never directly ruled on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S., but he was pressed on the landmark ruling during his Senate confirmation hearing. 

When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch what he would have done if President Trump asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade, the judge responded, "I would have walked out the door. It's not what judges do. I don't do it at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue and they shouldn't do it at this end either, respectfully."

Some refer to passages from a book Gorsuch wrote on assisted suicide. In the book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch wrote, "The idea that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong."

(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Second Amendment

Gorsuch has never directly ruled on the Second Amendment. However, during his confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) questioned Gorsuch on District of Columbia v. Heller -- a landmark ruling that overturned a ban on handguns and certain requirements when storing guns in Washington D.C. 

Gorsuch offered limited responses to Feinstein's questioning, but did conclude that Heller was the "law of the land." 

(REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo)

Religion

Gorsuch is widely regarded as a strong proponent of religious liberty.

In a landmark ruling, Gorsuch sided with an employer in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case in 2013, making it legal for a non-profit organization to deny employees access to contraceptives if it goes against their religious beliefs. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, where it was also ruled in the favor of Hobby Lobby. 

In another case, Gorsuch ruled in favor of a Wyoming inmate. The ruling allowed the inmate to use a prison yard sweat lodge, that he had previously been denied access to, for Native American religious worship.

(Getty)

Immigration

Gorsuch has not hinted to how he feels about President Trump's proposed travel ban, and many experts are split on how the SCOTUS nominee would vote on the executive order that bans immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries. The ban is currently suspended following rulings by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland. 

Gorsuch has sided with immigrants in past cases, and as Cornell University constitutional law professor Michael Dorf noted to the Denver Post -- "Gorsuch’s sympathy for people in religious cases, a general skepticism of executive power and a history of ruling for immigrants give some reason to think he could be sympathetic to plaintiffs challenging a ban on people from certain countries."

(REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Environment

In the 2015 case Energy and Environment Legal Institute vs. Epel, Gorsuch sided with a Colorado law that requires 20 percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from renewable sources. The case was filed by an out-of-state coal company, claiming the law was a threat to interstate commerce. 

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

LGBTQ rights

When pressed about gay rights and strict interpretations of the law by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.) during his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch responded that "no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days."

"We’re trying to interpret the law faithfully, taking principles that are enduring and a Constitution that was meant to last ages and apply it and interpret it to today’s problems." 

Gorsuch also told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "A good judge starts with precedent and doesn’t reinvent the wheel. So to the extent, there are decisions on these topics — and there are — a good judge respects precedent."

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Marijuana

While Gorsuch does hail from Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is still unclear where he stands on the issue.

In 2015, Gorsuch ruled against a dispensary, forcing the company to pay taxes on items they wrote off as business expenses in an effort to avoid incriminating themselves due to a federal law banning marijuana. 

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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