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The Journal Gazette

Monday, February 20, 2017 1:52 pm

Gorsuch backers target Donnelly

Brian Francisco | Washington editor

Abortion rights opponents will have a rally today in downtown Fort Wayne to urge Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Members of the Susan B. Anthony List, Indiana Right to Life and Allen County Right to Life will gather at noon outside Donnelly's office at the Anthony Wayne Building, 203 E. Berry St.

It will be the third rally that the SBA List has organized recently in Indiana to target Donnelly. The others were last week in Indianapolis and South Bend.

Politico reported Monday that the SBA List is part of a conservative bloc of pro-Gorsuch groups trying to put pressure on 10 Democratic senators who are up for re-election next year in states carried by Donald Trump in last year's presidential election. Politico identified other members of the bloc as Judicial Crisis Network, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Concerned Veterans of America and Tea Party Patriots.

With a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Republicans will need at least eight Democrats to meet a 60-vote threshold for ending debate and advancing Gorsuch's nomination to a confirmation vote.

After meeting Feb. 14 with Gorsuch, Donnelly said in a statement: "As I have said, part of my job as Senator is to meet, consider, debate, and vote on judicial nominations. I will continue to carefully review Judge Gorsuch?s record and qualifications in the coming weeks and will be following his hearing before the Judiciary Committee.?

The SBA List is coordinating Gorsuch support by abortion rights opponents at prolifecourt.com. The SBA List said the campaign will include emails and phone calls to senators' offices, digital advertising and demonstrations targeting certain senators.
The campaign states that Gorsuch "has a strong record of protecting life and religious freedom" as a federal appellate judge in Denver. It notes that he was part of the Hobby Lobby ruling, upheld by the Supreme Court, that stipulates that employers do not have to provide their workers with insurance coverage for contraceptives if doing so violates the employers' religious beliefs.

bfrancisco@jg.net