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Sen. Shaheen on Gorusch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/24/17
Shaheen did face some booing when she declared that federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, the President’s nominee to fill the high court vacancy, “will have a hearing, despite what Republicans did on Merrick Garland.” “It’s not in our interest to deny a hearing for Neil Gorsuch. That’s what’s proscribed in the Constitution. I’m not going to go out to say it was wrong for them and then right for us,” the Democratic senator from Madbury continued. But Shaheen predicted that “it will require 60 votes to pass the next Supreme Court judge.” … Hassan agreed with Shaheen, saying “I think it’s absolutely appropriate and right for us to do our constitutional duty and do our hearing.” Both senators seemed to indicate they’re leaning towards voting no on the President’s nominee. “I’m not going to support somebody who I believe is not going to address those major concerns I have for the court,” Shaheen declared.

Sens. Young, Donnelly Hold Off Committing on Gorsuch Till After Hearings
(Democrat - Indiana) 02/24/17
Donnelly says he won't decide how to vote until after Gorsuch's confirmation hearings next month -- but Republican Todd Young says the same, though he says he's "highly impressed" after meeting with Gorsuch. He calls the federal appeals judge a constitutionalist with impeccable credentials. Donnelly met with the judge as well, and says he's been reading through Gorsuch's legal writings -- he says the nominee is "very smart," but says he'll be listening for a sense of whether Gorsuch would try to advance a partisan agenda on the Court.

Sen. Hassan on Gorusch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/24/17
Shaheen did face some booing when she declared that federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, the President’s nominee to fill the high court vacancy, “will have a hearing, despite what Republicans did on Merrick Garland.” “It’s not in our interest to deny a hearing for Neil Gorsuch. That’s what’s proscribed in the Constitution. I’m not going to go out to say it was wrong for them and then right for us,” the Democratic senator from Madbury continued. But Shaheen predicted that “it will require 60 votes to pass the next Supreme Court judge.” … Hassan agreed with Shaheen, saying “I think it’s absolutely appropriate and right for us to do our constitutional duty and do our hearing.” Both senators seemed to indicate they’re leaning towards voting no on the President’s nominee. “I’m not going to support somebody who I believe is not going to address those major concerns I have for the court,” Shaheen declared.

Sens. Young, Donnelly Hold Off Committing on Gorsuch Till After Hearings: Young: "Highly impressed" by Supreme Court nominee
(Republican - Indiana) 02/24/17
Indiana's senators are from opposite parties, but they're taking the same stance on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.... Donnelly says he won't decide how to vote until after Gorsuch's confirmation hearings next month -- but Republican Todd Young says the same, though he says he's "highly impressed" after meeting with Gorsuch. He calls the federal appeals judge a constitutionalist with impeccable credentials.

Sen. Murphy on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Connecticut) 02/23/17
One asked Murphy whether he will vote to confirm President Donald J. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose Senate hearing begins March 20. Murphy met with the Republican president’s pick last week, is now reviewing his record and plans to come to a decision in the coming weeks or months. “He’s very impressive, he’s very thoughtful, he’s very smart,” Murphy said. “My concern — and this would be my concern with any judge not just Judge Gorsuch — is that I don’t want a judge bringing their politics into the Supreme Court. I want a judge who can interpret the law and not be activist.”

Sen. Baldwin meets Gorsuch, restates her opposition
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 02/16/17
After meeting Thursday with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said the two had a "respectful and thoughtful conversation," but she reiterated her plans to vote against him and to support a filibuster against his nomination. “I found Judge Gorsuch to be very smart and we discussed a number of his rulings that I continue to have deep concerns about, including decisions against disabled students, against workers, and against women’s reproductive health care,” Baldwin said in a statement. “I will not support a Supreme Court nominee who has too often favored big business over workers and retirees. I also believe people deserve a Supreme Court justice who will protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans. I don’t have confidence Judge Gorsuch is that nominee.”... In her statement after meeting Gorsuch on Thursday, Baldwin said: “I was pleased to meet with Judge Gorsuch and we had a respectful and thoughtful conversation about his record and his nomination by President Trump to our nation’s highest court. In our meeting, we discussed President Trump’s attacks on the judiciary and Judge Gorsuch’s private comments about them." Baldwin was referring to private comments Gorsuch had made to senators lamenting attacks on the judiciary. "I told him that I believe such attacks are wrong," said Baldwin. "But I also told him that a judge who is strong and independent should not be demoralized by the president's tweets. The president and his administration have continued to attack judges since Judge Gorsuch made his private comments and I encouraged him to publicly call these attacks what they are, wrong."

Trump caved to far-right demands on SCOTUS pick, says Bob Casey after meeting Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 02/16/17
Casey excoriated President Trump's "decision to give in to" the demands of far-right groups to select a nominee for the high court from their "approved list" in exchange for support. "President Trump's decision to give in to their demand and choose from only their list of nominees was unprecedented," Casey said, in a written statement. "It is essential that the next Supreme Court justice be truly independent so the court can fulfill its vital institutional role in our system of checks and balances. The decisions made by the next Supreme Court Justice will be extraordinarily consequential; the next Justice will be the deciding vote on a range of cases impacting the lives of tens of millions of Americans for a generation or more."...pick, says Bob Casey after meeting Neil Gorsuch Bob Casey,Neil Gorsuch They may have shared laughs, but Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., D-Pa., has concerns about Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch. Confirmation hearings for Gorsuch have been set for late March. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Susan Walsh) Print Email Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com By Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on February 16, 2017 at 4:47 PM, updated February 16, 2017 at 5:01 PM Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., may have shared a few laughs on Thursday with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but he walked away with concerns about the judge's candidacy for the high court. Casey excoriated President Trump's "decision to give in to" the demands of far-right groups to select a nominee for the high court from their "approved list" in exchange for support. "President Trump's decision to give in to their demand and choose from only their list of nominees was unprecedented," Casey said, in a written statement. "It is essential that the next Supreme Court justice be truly independent so the court can fulfill its vital institutional role in our system of checks and balances. The decisions made by the next Supreme Court Justice will be extraordinarily consequential; the next Justice will be the deciding vote on a range of cases impacting the lives of tens of millions of Americans for a generation or more." With his confirmation hearing scheduled for March 20, Gorsuch on Thursday continued to make the rounds on Capitol Hill meeting with Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. He met with Casey's Republican counterpart Sen. Pat Toomey on Tuesday. "I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch today," Casey said. "I discussed with him some real concerns I have about his judicial philosophy and some of his opinions as a 10th Circuit Judge that were in conflict with federal agency decisions focused on protecting the health and safety of workers." ... Casey said that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts had ruled overwhelmingly in favor of big corporations and that Gorsuch's judicial record suggests he may continue that trend. "I discussed with Judge Gorsuch some of his decisions pertaining to critical civil rights laws protecting individuals with disabilities, like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," Casey said. "The rights of those with disabilities, particularly the right to an equal education, must be vigorously protected by the courts." Casey said he would continue to review Gorsuch's record and follow his answers to questions during his hearing before the Judiciary Committee in March, as well as his written responses to questions.

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Meeting with Gorsuch
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 02/15/17
“I was glad Judge Gorsuch and I could meet today. I have heard a number of concerns from Rhode Islanders about his nomination and we covered a great deal of ground. In recent years, the Supreme Court has delivered one 5-4 decision after another, benefiting the Republican Party’s political operation in three big ways: helping them win elections by rolling back campaign finance and voter protections; helping the Party’s corporate backers by punishing unions and workers; and delivering far-right social policy that Congress would not pass. These conservative political victories should not be confused with conservative judicial philosophy. Indeed, in some cases, these decisions have been plainly activist and in direct opposition to a typical conservative jurist’s reading of the Constitution, like the Seventh Amendment guarantee of access to a civil jury or the Fifth and Fourteenth’s guarantee of due process. Chief Justice Roberts promised to merely ‘call balls and strikes.’ Then, the conservative bloc of five Justices became a political wrecking crew. Rhode Islanders want the Senate to confirm a Justice who will faithfully serve the Court and serve the law, not serve the special interests of the Republican Party. To win my support, Judge Gorsuch will have to convince me that he will stand up to the sort of political giveaways to Republicans that have been the hallmark of the Roberts Court.”

Sen. Shaheen Statement Following Her Meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/15/17
“My meeting with Judge Gorsuch was a valuable opportunity to discuss the critical role that our judiciary has in America’s system of checks and balances,” said Shaheen. “I expressed to Judge Gorsuch my strong view that the independence of the Supreme Court is paramount and I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about his judicial philosophy. I voiced my support for women’s reproductive rights and the important precedent of the Roe v. Wade decision. I also expressed my concern about the dramatic increase of secret money in politics in the wake of the Citizens United decision. I look forward to reviewing his public testimony during the nomination process.”

Sen. Donnelly Meets with Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Indiana) 02/14/17
Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement after meeting with Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Donnelly and Gorsuch talked about Gorsuch’s experience as a judge, his judicial philosophy, and his thoughts on judicial independence. Donnelly said, “Judge Gorsuch and I had a thoughtful conversation. I had the chance to ask him questions, discuss his views on the role of the Supreme Court, and hear about his experience on the federal bench. “I take my responsibility seriously to consider judicial nominees, including to the Supreme Court. As I have said, part of my job as Senator is to meet, consider, debate, and vote on judicial nominations. I will continue to carefully review Judge Gorsuch’s record and qualifications in the coming weeks and will be following his hearing before the Judiciary Committee.”

Sen. Sasse Announces Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/14/17
Sen. Sasse Press Release: "Senator Sasse’s Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission is an independent body of well-respected Nebraska leaders that will review applications, interview candidates, and make recommendations to Senator Sasse. Each Senator makes his or her recommendation to the White House. After the White House sends a nomination to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its confirmation process which, by longstanding precedent, requires the approval of both home-state senators."

Sen. Durbin Meets With President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - Illinois) 02/14/17
“At this pivotal time in our history, the Supreme Court must be an independent check on the Executive branch—its Justices must be unafraid to stand up to the President in the name of the Constitution and the rule of law. With a dizzying array of legal and constitutional disputes already haunting this White House, the Senate will not simply hand President Trump the deciding vote on cases that bring his Administration before the Supreme Court. I will insist that President Trump’s nominee be held to the same 60 vote threshold as past nominees have met,” said Durbin.

Sen. Leahy: Ensuring Judicial Independence Will Require SENATE Independence
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/13/17
"In light of the unconstitutional actions of our new President, the Senate owes the American people a thorough and unsparing examination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. That should include at least four days of hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee where senators can ask questions of the nominee and also hear from multiple panels of outside witnesses. With the ideological litmus test that President Trump has applied in making this selection, the American people are justified to wonder whether Judge Gorsuch can truly be independent of the President who nominated him, and the moneyed interests that hand-picked him. This question can only be answered in an open and transparent process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, in contrast to the backroom and unilateral decision to deny Chief Judge Garland a hearing."

Charles Schumer: Judge Gorsuch, We Won’t Be Fooled Again
(Democrat - New York) 02/10/17
"The bar is always high to achieve a seat on the Supreme Court, but in these unusual times — when there is unprecedented stress on our system of checks and balances — the bar is even higher for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to demonstrate independence. In order to clear it, he will have to convince 60 of my colleagues that he will not be influenced by politics, parties or the president. The judiciary is the last and most important check on an overreaching president with little respect for the rule of law. The only way to demonstrate the independence necessary is for Judge Gorsuch to answer specific questions about the judiciary and his judicial philosophy.... But over the course of an hour, he refused to answer even the most rudimentary questions.... The overarching lesson of Chief Justice Roberts can be summed up in a familiar phrase: Fool me once, shame on them; fool me twice, shame on me.... A truly independent judge would have the fortitude to condemn the president’s remarks, not just express disapproval, and to do it publicly."

Sens. Fischer, Sasse Announce Judicial Nominations Process for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/10/17
Nebraska’s U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse announced the application process for filling a forthcoming vacancy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Last week, Chief Judge William Jay Riley announced he will transition from active service to senior status effective June 30, 2017. Under the U.S. Constitution, judicial nominations are made by the president “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Typically, home state senators work with the Office of White House Counsel to identify for the president’s consideration qualified candidates for vacancies on the U.S. circuit courts. Senators Fischer and Sasse invite applications from qualified Nebraskans.

[VIDEO] Sen Coons on President Trump’s response to Judge Gorsuch’s comments: “The larger issue here is that judicial independence is at risk”
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/09/17
"Frankly what matters here is whether or not Judge Gorsuch, who will be up for confirmation for the Supreme Court, in meetings with Senators and then ultimately publicly demonstrates judicial independence, demonstrates his understanding that an independent judiciary is one of the cornerstones of our constitutional order, and that President Trump’s recent comments personally attacking or challenging judges, who are delaying or may ultimately overturn his travel ban, deserve respect not to be attacked.... In my meeting with Judge Gorsuch, I will also ask him about judicial independence and I think, in due course, we will ask him about that during the confirmation hearing.... The larger issue is that judicial independence is at risk. ... I think President Trump is going to harm both Judge Gorsuch’s chances of confirmation and his standing as president if he continues to undermine the independence of the federal judiciary.”

Sen. Donnelly Statement on Meeting with President Trump
(Democrat - Indiana) 02/09/17
“We had a productive and wide-ranging discussion on preventing the outsourcing of American jobs, addressing the opioid abuse epidemic, and we also talked about Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch. Hoosiers hired me to do a job: to represent everybody in our state and work hard to do what’s best for Hoosier families—and this was a good opportunity to talk about a number of issues important to Hoosiers and our country.”

Senator Collins’ Statement Following Meeting with Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Republican - Maine) 02/09/17
“The consideration of a Supreme Court nominee is one of the Senate’s most important constitutional responsibilities. “My more than hour-long meeting with Judge Gorsuch this morning confirmed for me what many on both sides of the aisle and those who know him well have said throughout his distinguished career: Judge Gorsuch is an individual with great integrity and extraordinary intellect who has a deep respect for the law. “Among the wide variety of issues we discussed, I was struck by three in particular: First, Judge Gorsuch indicated that he has a high regard for the role and importance of precedent; second, he made it clear that he will be a fierce defender of our independent judiciary; and third, Judge Gorsuch assured me that no one at the White House has asked him to commit to ruling a certain way on any case. “I was certainly impressed with Judge Gorsuch, and I look forward to his public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Sen. Heitkamp Statement Following Bipartisan Lunch with President Trump
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/09/17
“We also talked about the need for any infrastructure package to include improving access to high-speed internet in rural communities as I’ve long pushed for, the importance of combating the opioid crisis across the country, and the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court who I met with yesterday.”

Sen. Mark Warner on Confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
(Democrat - Virginia) 02/08/17
Senator Warner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in opposition to the nomination. Video of that speech is available here. [LINK] Audio is available here. [LINK] “The Attorney General is charged with impartially and independently enforcing our nation’s laws and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. These are solemn responsibilities, and though I opposed this nomination, I will hold Senator Sessions accountable for executing them faithfully as Attorney General.”

Sen. Duckworth Votes Against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
(Democrat - Illinois) 02/08/17
“America needs a forceful advocate for fairness in its next Attorney General—someone who will fight for justice for all people—not a rubberstamp for the President. Unfortunately, Senator Sessions’ record and refusal to recuse himself from voting on other Trump nominees proves he will not be that person. Senator Sessions voted against extending hate crime protections to Americans who are targeted because of their gender, disability or sexual orientation. He argued for religious discrimination against Muslims. He wanted to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and criticized legal protections for people with disabilities as ‘irritating’ and ‘unnecessary.’ I am disappointed that Senator Sessions will now be in a position to erode the civil rights countless Americans bled to protect. I worry about what his Department of Justice will mean for our neighbors with disabilities, Americans of all sexual orientations, people of color and others who have historically been denied equal protection under our nation’s laws when public officials entrusted to enforce those protections turned a blind eye.”

Sen. McCaskill Meets Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Missouri) 02/08/17
Senator Claire McCaskill, a former Jackson County Prosecutor, today met with Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—and released the following statement: “I was glad for the opportunity to sit down with Judge Gorsuch and hear more about his record and his views, and I’m looking forward to seeing his confirmation hearing."

Sen. Bennet Votes to Oppose Jeff Sessions Nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 02/08/17
"The President is entitled to choose his team," Bennet continued. "But, the Attorney General, more than any other cabinet official, must be the people's lawyer, an advocate for the rule of law above all else." "It's clear from the nearly 23,000 calls and emails my office has received that Senator Sessions has not earned the confidence of many Coloradans who may soon rely on him to protect their rights and identify abuses of Constitutional power."

Sen. Heitkamp Meets with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/08/17
“One of the most important roles of a U.S. senator is to vet nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court through meetings and Senate hearings, and I take that job very seriously,” said Heitkamp. “Unfortunately, Senate Republicans broke tradition and historical precedent in refusing to give Judge Merrick Garland the full and fair consideration he deserved when he was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, forcing his nomination to languish for almost 300 days – by far the longest that a Supreme Court nomination has been held open. Unlike my colleagues, I believe my duty of advice and consent in these matters remains the same regardless of which party is in the White House – it is our job as U.S. Senators to perform this function and not play politics. That’s why I met with Judge Gorsuch today, and I appreciate him taking the time to come by my office. We had a thorough conversation about the importance of the rule of law and of a judiciary that is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. We also talked about Indian law and treaties, fixing our criminal justice system, and empathy on the bench—a fundamental trait when the poor and underprivileged in North Dakota and beyond don’t have the same access to the courts as those who are better off.”

On Senate Floor, Gillibrand Urges Colleagues To Oppose Sessions Nomination For Attorney General
(Democrat - New York) 02/08/17
Gillibrand: We need an Attorney General who will fight every day for equal justice and equal protection under our laws; Senator Sessions has no record of doing that.

SEN. TESTER STANDS WITH MONTANANS IN OPPOSING ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE JEFF SESSIONS
(Democrat - Montana) 02/08/17
"I will not back a nominee who supports the most intrusive aspects of the PATRIOT Act and refuses to support survivors of domestic violence," Tester said. "Mr. Sessions has proven that he will not protect our individual freedoms and he won't stand up for those who can't speak for themselves. I am proud to stand with thousands of Montanans who value their right to privacy and protections for women and children."

Sen. Feinstein: Republicans Shutting Down Senator Warren ‘Indefensible’
(Democrat - California) 02/08/17
“In 1986, Coretta Scott King wrote a powerful letter expressing her belief that Jeff Sessions lacked the ‘requisite judgment, competence and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws’ to serve as a federal judge. “Coretta Scott King was a voice worth hearing in 1986 and her opinion certainly remains relevant and valid today. “For Republicans to shut down Senator Warren when she tried to read Coretta Scott King’s letter is indefensible. That action is even more offensive because they allowed her male colleagues to read the exact same passages without batting an eye.”

Sen. Feinstein Votes ‘No’ On Jeff Sessions Attorney General Nomination
(Democrat - California) 02/08/17
Feinstein yesterday spoke against Sessions’s nomination. Full remarks are available here. [LINK] Excerpts from her remarks, as delivered, follow:

VIDEO: Udall Reads from Coretta Scott King Letter in Opposing Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
(Democrat - New Mexico) 02/08/17
In addition to entering King's letter into the record, Udall expressed his deep concern that Sessions will refuse to serve as a check against the reckless, backward, and exclusionary policies of the Trump administration.

SEN. WHITEHOUSE STATEMENT ON SESSIONS CONFIRMATION
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 02/08/17
“I voted ‘no’ today because of Rhode Islanders’ serious concerns about Senator Sessions’s record on immigration, civil rights, protections for women, religious tolerance, and offense to broad groups of Americans. But, most of all, I voted ‘no’ because I do not have adequate confidence that he will fight for the Department’s mission when necessary with this President.”