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Pa. targeted in ad blitz against Trump Supreme Court pick

Ad wars over President Trump's Supreme Court pick begin in Pennsylvania, 11 other states.

The Supreme Court advertising wars have begun.

A liberal advocacy group is airing television ads in Pennsylvania and 11 other states attacking President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, as an enemy of personal freedoms Americans value. Many of the targeted states are represented by moderate Democratic senators who must be in the fold if the party has any hope of blocking the nominee.

The ad features a faceless man in a judicial robe ripping a copy of the constitution. People for the American Way said Thursday the spot will run for a week in the dozen states. A spokeswoman declined to disclose the size or cost of the advertising buy.

The campaign calls on viewers to call their senators and insist they oppose confirmation of Gorsuch.

"Judge Gorsuch has criticized courts being used to advance core constitutional rights, e.g. the rights of LGBTQ people, but he does think the courts should be used to prop up corporations at the expense of everyday Americans. That's absurd." said Marge Backer, executive vice president of PFAW. "Supreme Court justices serve for life — Trump could devastate fundamental rights for decades if the Senate confirms Judge Gorsuch, but we have the power to stop him."

Other states scheduled for the ad campaign are: Indiana, Nevada, Maine, North Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Missouri, Florida, Alaska, Arizona, and South Carolina. (Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia are examples of states Trump carried overwhelmingly but have at least one Democratic senator. And Pennsylvania, which the president carried narrowly, has Sen. Bob Casey (D.,Pa.).

This pdf contains specifics of the group's objections to Gorsuch's record as an appeals court judge.

A coalition of conservative organizations is also gearing up with an advertising and grassroots campaign to urge senators to support the appointment of Gorsuch to the high court. The Judicial Crisis Network, which will be the leader of the coalition, has said up to $10 million will be spent to confirm Trump's choice. The groups laid out $7 million last year to urge the Senate not to take up President Barack Obama's choice for the vacancy on the court, Judge Merrick Garland.

The Judicial Crisis Network said it would hit hard at Democratic senators from states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, such as Indiana (Sen. Joe Donnelly) and Missouri (Sen. Claire McCaskill).

"Any vulnerable senator who signs up for (an) obstructionist strategy will pay a heavy price in 2018," asserted Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis network. "Exit polls showed that over one fifth of voters said the Supreme Court was a primary reason for their vote and of that large percentage of Americans, Trump won those voters by a resounding 57-40 margin.  And he won some of those states by overwhelming margins," she said. "The President-elect clearly has a mandate when it comes to the Supreme Court and this effort will ensure that the will of the people prevails."