×

Democratic Sen. Heitkamp explains why she broke ranks and voted for Trump's Supreme Court pick

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told CNBC on Tuesday she supported Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court based on an interview and a review of his record.

"Would he be the judge I'd pick? No, never," the North Dakota senator said on "Squawk Box." "But he is the judge that the duly elected president picked."

Heitkamp was one of three Democrats up for re-election in red states who voted to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court following a bitter partisan fight. On Friday, the Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee, a day after the Senate took the "nuclear option" to advance Gorsuch's nomination by changing the rulings for filibusters.

Democrats denounced the GOP's use of the parliamentary procedure, calling it an epic power grab that would further corrode politics in Congress, the courts and the United States.

Democrats were also bitter after Republicans had refused to even consider former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, following the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Heitkamp said what happened to Garland was "atrocious."

"It was appalling," Heitkamp said Tuesday. "I didn't judge Judge Gorsuch by that."

Heitkamp said a great frustration many Americans have is when one party continuously obstructs the other.

"Elections have consequences," she said. "This was someone who was qualified. You may not agree with all of his decisions."

"There's a lot of people disappointed and there is a lot of people who walk by in the coffee shop and say thanks for your vote. They're tired of partisanship," she said.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.