Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson announced Monday that he will vote against Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.
"Deciding whether to confirm a president's nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously," Nelson said in a statement. "Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee's hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions.
Nelson also made clear he would join Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who last week urged his colleagues to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination.
"I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation," Nelson said.
Nelson faces reelection in 2018 and is a top target of national Republicans, who have been pressuring him to back Gorsuch. In 2006, they noted, Nelson voted against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito but did not join the filibuster against him.
"In the past, Nelson thought nominees deserved an up or down vote," the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a statement. "Remember, in 2006, Nelson voted for cloture to end the filibuster on Judge Alito’s nomination. The same year, Nelson joined his Senate colleagues to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in a unanimous vote. Clearly Nelson has been in Washington way too long and is forgetting he represents Florida, not Washington liberals."
Photo credit: Susan Walsh, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Democrats are lining up to oppose Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, but Florida Sen. Bill Nelson isn't saying where he stands.
"Still undecided on both," Nelson's spokesman tells The Tampa Bay Times on whether how he will vote or whether he supports growing Democratic calls for a filibuster.
A filibuster, which New York Sen. Charles Schumer called for yesterday, would force Republicans to upend Senate rules to allow for a simple majority.
Nelson oppossed a filibuster for Sameul Alito in 2006, though voted against him. Yet Nelson previously told us he supports 60-vote threshold for a Supreme Court nominee.
"You bet I do. The filibuster has always forced the political extremes to come of the middle to build consensus," Nelson said in February, adding it was a "mistake" for former Democratic leader Harry Reid to lower the threshold on other nominees that were stymied by Republicans.
The NRSC says Nelson should tell voters where he stands.
"Floridians made it clear when they hit the polls in November that they trusted President Trump to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice. Bill Nelson needs to tell his constituents whether he will side with them and vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee, or join Chuck Schumer and Washington liberals and filibuster Judge Gorsuch."
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times
Photo credit: Associated Press
The Senate voted today to kill regulations that would prevent Internet providers from tracking and sharing personal data without consent, and Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio were on opposite sides.
WASHINGTON - Some issues transcend partisan politics, so it was not surprising to see Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next to President Donald Trump this morning for the signing of the NASA Authorization Act. (Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was there too, to the right of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and cut off in the photo.)
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times
Photo credit: Screen capture via @NASASpaceflight
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bill Nelson remains undecided on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a spokesman said this morning as the confirmation hearing begins.
Nelson faces pressure from the left and right over Gorsuch. The Florida Democrat met with Gorsuch for about an hour earlier this month Nelson discussed his concerns about the suppression of voting rights and the amount of undisclosed, unlimited money in campaigns.
Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio criticized President Donald Trump's proposal to cut State Department money but praised other parts of his budget proposal. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, bashed Trump's proposal.
Here is Rubio's statement:
“The president’s budget reflects what his administration’s priorities are. I am very encouraged that this budget supports ideas like the Educational Opportunities Act I first introduced in 2013 with the goal of expanding school choice through tax credit incentives for scholarships to low-income students. It's a promising sign that we'll be able to work with the administration on school choice policies I care deeply about because of the positive impact they can have in providing hardworking families with better school options for their kids. I also welcome the president's desire to begin reversing the damaging impact of sequestration on our military's readiness, and believe he'll find strong support in Congress for this key part of his budget blueprint.
“While this budget blueprint offers insights into the president’s thinking about what’s important to his administration and the American people, it is Congress that will actually set the nation’s policy priorities and fund them. I will continue to review all the details of this budget proposal for areas of common interest we can work on together.
“However, I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department. These programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe. In order to advance our national security interests, economic opportunity for our people and respect for human dignity everywhere, America’s leadership on the global stage is indispensable. I will be working to ensure Congress’ funding priorities allow America to play this role.”
Here is Nelson's statement:
“This plan doesn’t make any sense. You're going to cut some of our most important agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, which is working to find cures for cancer and Alzheimer's, the Environmental Protection Agency, which keeps our air and water clean, and the Army Corps of Engineers, which is working to restore the Everglades. I agree that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our country safe, but cutting all of these important programs to pay for things, such as a wall, just doesn’t make any sense.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, declared Trump's proposal "dead on arrival" and criticized it.
Sen. Bill Nelson plans to support President Donald Trump's nominee for labor secretary.
That's according to a Nelson spokesman, who we'd asked for comment. Alex Acosta is a Miami native and the dean of Florida International University's law school.
Acosta's confirmation hearing is next week.
Photo credit: Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg
A conservative group misfired in its attack on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., for being inconsistent on the use of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
America Rising Squared, the policy arm of the conservative America Rising PAC, said in an online post that Nelson, up for re-election in 2018, committed a "filibuster flip-flop" on President Donald Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch.
"In 2006, Nelson opposed the use of a filibuster for the nomination of Justice (Samuel) Alito, but now has adopted a different stance," said America Rising Squared, a group advocating for senators to support Gorsuch.
We decided to look at whether Nelson flip-flopped on using the filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee on our Flip-O-Meter, which examines whether a politician has been consistent on an issue.
Experts told us America Rising mischaracterized Nelson’s record.
Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.