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Walker, Schimel call for vote on Gorsuch for court (UPDATE)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker calls for the U.S. Senate to vote on President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court at a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 in Madison, Wis. Fellow Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, far right, also spoke in support of Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo by Scott Bauer)

Gov. Scott Walker calls for the U.S. Senate to vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court at a news conference on Wednesday in Madison. Fellow Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel (right) also spoke in support of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (AP Photo by Scott Bauer)

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker took more jabs at Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday, calling for her and the U.S. Senate to take a vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Walker was joined by fellow Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel at the Capitol news conference that was part of a coordinated 11-state effort organized by the conservative group the Judicial Crisis Network.

Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the court after the Republican-controlled Senate refused to vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland last year. They said such a vote shouldn’t be done in an election year, even though several justices have been confirmed in an election year since 1912, most recently Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1988.

Walker and Schimel both made arguments Wednesday that echoed those made by Democrats last year, saying the American people deserved and expected a vote on the nominee so the court would be at full power. But the Republicans rejected accusations that they were being hypocritical, insisting that the situation is different now because it’s not an election year.

“I’m not here to re-litigate what’s been said in the past,” Walker said. “If you’re in the mainstream of American politics, I think it makes sense to say let’s give them a hearing, let’s give them a vote.”

Baldwin last year argued that Obama’s nominee should be given an up or down vote in a timely manner. But this year she is opposing Trump’s pick and supporting a Democratic filibuster that will require 60 votes to break and delay the confirmation.

Baldwin said in a statement Wednesday evening that she can’t vote for Gorsuch because he has too often favored big business over workers and she doesn’t believe he will protect all Americans’ rights.

“The people of Wisconsin want an independent Supreme Court justice who will serve as a check and balance on President Trump and the executive branch,” Baldwin said.

Walker and Baldwin got into an argument over Twitter about the nomination earlier this month.
Walker refused to say whether Trump should nominate someone to the court in an election year if there should be a vacancy.

“I’m not here to hypothesize about what’s going to happen in the third year,” Walker said. “I’m here to advocate for what’s before us right now.”

But Scot Ross, leader of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, said the real reason for the news conference was “to attack Tammy Baldwin because they cannot get a credible candidate against her.”

Baldwin is up for re-election next year. Republican Rep. Sean Duffy announced last week he would not run, but several other Republicans are considering it.

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