Yesterday Montana's Republican Attorney General Tim Fox sent Senator Jon Tester a letter, urging the Democrat to vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The letter comes as Senate Democratic leadership is urging a filibuster of Gorsuch's nomination. Time magazine says 35 Senate Democrats have pledged to vote to block Gorsuch, that's just six votes shy of the number needed for a successful filibuster. Montana Public Radio asked Tester how he'll vote on Gorsuch earlier this week.
"I don't mean to sound like a politician here, but I will tell you I honestly have not made up my mind. Depending on what time of day you talk to me you would get a different answer."
Tester said he taking time to carefully reviewing Gorsuch's decisions:
"And since he didn't answer many questions when he was in my office, and some of those very same questions were asked during the hearing and he didn't answer them, I've to do some more digging. And once I get those answers from his past decisions it will give me a pretty good indication how he's going to perform on the court, and then I will either vote for him or against him."
Tester said he'll probably make a decision on Gorsuch Monday or Tuesday. He says his decision won't be based on Senate Republicans refusing to hold a hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland last year.
"No, I think they gave the guy a raw deal, I don't think there's any doubt about that," Tester says. "But you've got to move on and I'm going to base it based on this guy's judicial record, and we'll move forward from there. What they did to Garland was totally unacceptable and quite frankly contrary to the Constitution, but the bottom line is I think I need to move on, and I have; and we'll make it based on his opinions, his decisions and where I think he stands on issue that are important to Montana and the nation."
In his letter to Senator Tester, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says that “more than ample time has passed for thoroughly vetting [Gorsuch],” and that endorsements by several Montana Indian tribes are important and speak to Gorsuch's qualifications.
Fox has been mentioned as a possible challenger for Tester's Senate seat in the 2018 election.