Outside her Springfield Office, Demonstrators Urge Sen. McCaskill to Confirm Gorsuch

Feb 13, 2017

Signs reading #ConfirmGorsuch were among those displayed in front of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Springfield office Monday urging the lawmaker to vote for the Supreme Court nominee.

Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump last month to fill the vacancy created after the death of Antonin Scalia.

David Schminkey, a professor at Ozarks Bible Institute in Neosho, believes Gorsuch will adhere to the Constitution.

Demonstrators hold signs asking Sen. Claire McCaskill to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Monday in Springfield.
Credit Claire Kidwell / KSMU

"Rather than have activist judges that want to reinterpret and write law from the bench, we want someone that is going to take the law that we have and base right and wrong rather than try and rewrite it,” said Schminkey.

Dave Plemmons with Missouri Right to Life was among the roughly 40 demonstrators that gathered to voice support for the nominee.

“He’s an originalist – he believes in the original intent of the Constitution as his backdrop for all the decisions he makes. He advocates for free speech and free expression, and we believe he’s conservative as an appointee so we want to support him.”

Plemmons said President Trump “followed through on his promise” to pick a judge from a list consisting of 21 judges from around the country, and stated that “all of those 21 would be good conservative, originalists on the Supreme Court.”

Other signs read “I Vote Pro-Life,” a major election issue for voters like Janine Niswonger, an alumna of Ozark Bible Institute.

She said, “This definitely influenced my vote, I would say it was a big determining factor in my vote in fact, was to be able to vote for somebody who I at least had some idea that they would make choices in defense of the unborn.”

Exit polling in November found that 21 percent of voters identified the Supreme Court vacancy as their most important issue.

Many at Monday’s gathering cited Gorsuch’s opinions on the Court of Appeals in various cases, including Burwell vs Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. case of 2014, that they feel sides with anti-abortion views.  

Sen. McCaskill has yet to give a definite opinion of Gorsuch, hence the demonstration “to let her know we want her to confirm Gorsuch,” says Teresa Niswonger, Janine’s mother.

The senator met with Judge Gorsuch on Feb. 8, saying in a statement afterward that she is “looking forward to seeing his confirmation hearing.”

The process could take two or three months. It remains to be seen if Senate Democrats, after last year's refusal by Senate Republicans to hold any confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, will seek to block the confirmation.