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Murphy, Blumenthal vow to block Trump's Supreme Court nominee

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro drew rounds of fierce applause Friday as she wagged her pink rectangular glasses at the people gathered inside a New Haven Planned Parenthood and warned that the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy poses a clear threat to women’s reproductive rights.

DeLauro’s visit to New Haven — in which she acted as part cheerleader and part prognosticator — came just two days after Kennedy announced his retirement, a move that gives President Donald Trump a pivotal new pick and the opportunity to choose a justice who will vote to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.

And like some of her colleagues in Connecticut’s congressional delegation — who also came home Friday to sound the alarm — DeLauro did not hold back.

“This has to be raised to a decibel level that is deafening around the country,” DeLauro said. “We thought that they could never take it away but it gives you some sense of how fragile democracy is … we are fighting for the soul of this country and for democracy in the next several months.”

The prospect of a bruising battle over a Supreme Court nominee is sure to permeate many political campaigns this year, including some in Connecticut, where Democrats are using the prospect of another Trump-appointed justice as an issue that will help them organize and raise money.

“I hope every single candidate for election uses the fight over the Supreme Court as a central organizing principle,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., at a press conference in Hartford on Friday. “This is about the future of the country.”

Democrats say a new, conservative Supreme Court justice would swing the court to a 5-4 majority that could threaten more than just Roe v. Wade. The Affordable Care Act, including its coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and contraceptive rights are also threatened, they said.

Murphy has vowed to block Trump’s Supreme Court pick. So has fellow Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

“As a candidate I will be raising money, I will be organizing volunteers around one of the most important jobs of a United States senator, which is to make sure that the Supreme Court reflects the values of the country,” Murphy said.

With the GOP holding the majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate as a whole, and the abolition last year of the use of the filibuster to block a Supreme Court nominee, it will be difficult for Connecticut’s senators to block the person Trump picks to fill Kennedy’s seat.

Murphy and DeLauro are up for re-election this year and likely to stump on the issue of the future of the Supreme Court. Blumenthal is not.

“As a non-candidate I’m going to be using this issue to sound the alarm, as a call for action, a five-alarm fire, a break-the-glass moment,” Blumenthal said at Friday’s press conference. “This kind of moment is going to be front-and-center in this election for sure.”

Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who, as a former Connecticut attorney general, argued cases before the Supreme Court, also said, “I know the importance of an open-minded, independent, fair jurist in the mold of Justice Kennedy. That’s all that any of us can ask of a judge.”

Both Murphy and Blumenthal have joined fellow senators in demanding a vote for Kennedy’s replacement be postponed until after November’s mid-term elections.

When President Barack Obama was nearing the end of his second term in office he nominated Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy on the court. Garland’s nomination was blocked by Republicans who argued it should wait until after the 2016 general election.


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