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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Kaine: “The Wrongdoing of Others”: Judge Gorsuch and Judicial Activism
(Democrat - Virginia) 03/29/17
Long form piece on Judge Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination

Sen. Carper Statement on Consideration of Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Delaware) 03/29/17
“Over one year ago, Judge Merrick Garland was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Today that seat – what should be Judge Garland’s seat – remains vacant. The unprecedented obstruction my Republican colleagues in the Senate mounted last year against Judge Garland was a shameful chapter for the United States Senate and our Constitution. Judge Garland, a consensus builder and one of the most qualified and respected judges in the country, waited 293 days for a hearing and a vote that ultimately never came. A good man was treated terribly. Meanwhile, Judge Neil Gorsuch has met with Democrats and Republicans in large numbers. A lengthy hearing covering several days was held 48 days after his nomination. Now, Republicans are prepared to speedily bring his nomination to the floor, something they were not prepared to do when they had almost an entire year to consider Judge Garland’s nomination. Ultimately, I believe that moving forward with Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will send a signal that it’s acceptable to put partisan politics over fidelity to our Constitution. It is not. While I do not believe that two wrongs make a right, I believe this may be our only opportunity to right a historic wrong. Therefore, I am left with no other choice but to oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination until we find agreement on moving Judge Garland’s nomination forward at the same time.”

(Democrat - Virginia) 03/29/17
Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on his intent to vote against cloture and final confirmation for the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court ...

Sen. Murphy: I will vote NO on Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/28/17
"The question is, will Judge Gorsuch continue the activist, pro-corporate, anti-public interest bent of the court, and will he bring his politics into the courtroom, rather than applying the law blindly? I have become convinced, after meeting with Judge Gorsuch and after studying his record, that he will likely become the most extreme member of the Court, continuing the activist, pro-special interest bias on the Court.... I will oppose both cloture, and if necessary, final passage, on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. I trust that if moving this nomination forward does not receive the support of at least 60 Senators, a threshold which the confirmation of every current Supreme Court Justice cleared, President Trump will then nominate someone less extreme, who can garner bipartisan support in the Senate."

Sen. Peters Statement on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Michigan) 03/28/17
"The U.S. Supreme Court is often the last line of defense for everyday Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s previous rulings indicate he believes that corporations have greater rights than individuals. Whether it is ruling against children who want an equal opportunity to get a quality education or women who want access to health care, Judge Gorsuch often fails to take into account the human face behind each case. He has also failed to acknowledge how deeply the Citizens United decision has corrupted our government by opening the floodgates for special interest money to pour into our elections. Serving on the U.S. Supreme Court requires more than education and experience, and I am extremely concerned that Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach is out of step with mainstream American values. After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s comments and his record, I cannot support his nomination to serve on our nation’s highest court.”

Sen. Cardin Will Vote Against Gorsuch Nomination to Supreme Court
(Democrat - Maryland) 03/28/17
"I am greatly troubled by Judge Gorsuch’s record. His extensive legal record is peppered with examples of putting corporate interests before working Americans, showing hostility to agency decisions that protect our environment, disregard for women’s health, marginalizing students with disabilities and many more troubling decisions. While he said little of substance at his confirmation hearing, Judge Gorsuch’s record shows clearly why he was a choice candidate of the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Despite his protestations, his record points to a jurist who has not separated his political views from his legal views. I do not believe that he would serve as an independent check on this president, who has tested the limits of the Constitution and the separation of powers in a way that no other modern president has done. Our next Supreme Court Justice can serve for a generation and have a profound impact on the lives of all Americans for decades to come. By recklessly blocking a vote or even a hearing on Merrick Garland, the Republican leadership has inflicted lasting damage on the Supreme Court and the independence of the federal judiciary, while diminishing the powers and duties of the Senate. Unlike Judge Garland, who was considered by almost all independent judicial scholars as mainstream, Judge Gorsuch does not enjoy a similar evaluation. For these reasons, I cannot support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.”

Senator Stabenow Announces She Will Oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination to Supreme Court
(Democrat - Michigan) 03/28/17
“After reviewing Judge Gorsuch's rulings, it is clear that he has a long record of siding with special interests and institutions instead of hard-working Americans. And, therefore, in my judgment, he does not meet this standard of balance and impartiality,” Stabenow said in a statement. “After carefully reviewing his record and listening to his testimony last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that supporting the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court is not in the best interests of the people of Michigan whom I am proud to represent.” Stabenow noted that Gorsuch, while serving on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, had ruled against Alphonse Maddin, a Michigan truck driver who was fired after leaving his trailer at the roadside when it broke down on a freezing night. “When Mr. Maddin sued, Judge Gorsuch disagreed with six other judges' rulings and reached the conclusion that Mr. Maddin should have risked his life to follow company orders even though Mr. Maddin protected his cargo from loss and completed his assignment,” Stabenow said. She also highlighted a 2008 ruling by Gorsuch against the parent of an autistic boy who sought an education to meet his special needs. During Gorsuch's confirmation hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that disabled students are entitled to more protections than Gorsuch had found to be necessary, Stabenow said. Another case she noted involved a ruling by Gorsuch in favor of “the rights of corporations over the rights of women to have access to health care,” Stabenow said.

Sen. Klobuchar on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination for the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/28/17
"After thorough examination and consideration, I have decided that I will not vote in favor of Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. His judicial record on critical issues including the rights of children with disabilities, campaign finance, and preserving health and safety protections have led me to conclude that I cannot support his nomination."

Sen. Hirono Urges “Loud & Steadfast” Opposition to Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/28/17
On the Senate floor, Senator Mazie K. Hirono called for continued “loud and steadfast” opposition to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to sit on the Supreme Court. Senator Hirono made her case for her “no” vote, citing Judge Gorsuch’s refusal to answer questions about his judicial philosophy

Sen. Van Hollen to Oppose Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 03/28/17
After carefully evaluating Neil Gorsuch’s record and his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that he applies a cramped reading of the law and consistently sides with powerful special interests against the rights of individuals, workers, and consumers. When he had an opportunity during the hearings to clarify that bias, he chose instead to evade questions and answered with platitudes, not substance. While he is undoubtedly a skilled lawyer, his bias in favor of corporate power, coupled with his refusal to answer reasonable questions, lead me to conclude that he falls outside the judicial mainstream. The case that the Supreme Court decided in the middle of his hearing illustrates the point: the current Supreme Court Justices unanimously rejected his reasoning against the right of individuals with disabilities to receive an equal education. For all these reasons, I will oppose his nomination. After the Senate’s unprecedented abdication of constitutional responsibility with respect to the Garland nomination, we must begin to restore faith in the Supreme Court. That requires a nominee who is widely viewed to be an impartial administrator of justice – someone who is truly in the mainstream and who can earn the support of at least 60 senators. I will insist that this nominee be held to that standard."

Sen. Hassan: Why I Cannot Support Judge Gorsuch’s Nomination for the Supreme Court: Judge Gorsuch Has Consistently Sided with Big Corporations, Showing a Disregard for the Impact His Decisions Have on the Lives of Real Americans
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 03/28/17
"After considering the totality of Judge Gorsuch’s record and judicial philosophy, I have concluded that at this critical moment in our nation’s history, Judge Gorsuch has failed to demonstrate the judicial approach needed in a Supreme Court justice. While Judge Gorsuch is by all accounts a man of great integrity in his personal life, his record demonstrates that he has too often shown a disregard for the impact that his decisions have on the lives of real Americans, consistently putting big corporations before the rights and liberties of hard-working people and families.... I will vote against this nomination, and I support maintaining the traditional 60-vote threshold for confirming Supreme Court nominees."

Sen. Durbin On Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/28/17
"In this context, the Senate cannot simply rubber stamp a lifetime Supreme Court appointment for the president. Neil Gorsuch is the man Donald Trump urgently wants on the Supreme Court. That should give many Americans pause, and it certainly gives pause to me. I cannot support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. I will vote no when his nomination comes before the Judiciary Committee next week, I will vote no on cloture, and I’ll oppose his nomination on the Senate floor.”

Sen. Shaheen to Oppose Judge Gorsuch’s Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 03/28/17
“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony, I cannot support his nomination to serve on the Supreme Court ... he has a very alarming record of putting the interests of large corporations over those of their employees. I was also disheartened by his evasive answers to questions regarding the Citizens United decision, which has dramatically increased the amount of secret money in politics.... As Judge Gorsuch’s nomination comes to the floor, I will support a 60-vote threshold for approval, an appropriate high bar that has been met by seven of the eight current Supreme Court justices.”

Sen. Bill Nelson will No on cloture and on confirmation of Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Florida) 03/27/17
“Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions. I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation.”

Sen. Hirono to Oppose Nomination of Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/27/17
“The real focus and the real heart of this decision lies in the struggles that working families, women, differently-abled, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, students, seniors, and our native peoples face every day,” Senator Hirono said. “These are the everyday Americans who will be impacted by the decisions a Justice Gorsuch would make. The central question for me in looking at Judge Gorsuch and his record, in listening carefully through three days of hearings is whether he would be a Justice for all, or only a Justice for some. I do not believe Judge Gorsuch meets this test. I will oppose his nomination, and I will oppose it every step of the way. I urge my colleagues to do the same. This is simply too important for the future of America and its values.”

Sen. Leahy on filibuster and Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/27/17
"Unless #JudgeGorsuch provides REAL answers to written Qs & senators have ample time for review & debate, he WILL be filibustered"

Sen. Franken: I Will Vote No on Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/27/17
"Last week, Judge Neil Gorsuch appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to not only explain his record and his judicial philosophy, but to convince the Senate that he would be the right choice for this incredibly important position," said Sen. Franken. "Although I came into the hearings skeptical of Judge Gorsuch, I was willing to listen, ask questions, and to do my job as a member of the Committee. Based on those hearings, I am going to vote no on Judge Gorsuch's nomination. He has an extreme record on everything from corporate accountability and workers' rights to women's health, and I fear that as a Supreme Court justice he will guarantee that the highest court in the land continues to favor powerful interests over the rights of average Americans. I'll say this again: at this moment in our nation's history, we need a Supreme Court justice who has earned a reputation for working to build consensus-someone like Merrick Garland, who, although rightfully nominated by President Obama, was treated disgracefully by Senate Republicans and denied a hearing and a vote. Judge Gorsuch is not a consensus nominee like Merrick Garland and he should not be confirmed. If given a spot on the Court, he will pursue an ideology that I believe has already infected the bench-an ideology that backs big business over individual Americans."

Sen. Franken will vote No on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/26/17
"I will be voting no on Judge Neil Gorsuch because I fear he'd be a part of a U.S. Supreme Court that would put the interests of large corporations before Minnesotans and all Americans."

Sen. Whitehouse says he will not vote to confirm Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/24/17
Sen.feels he "gave Judge Gorsuch every chance" during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, "and indeed pressed him and pressed him on the issues I think are the dominant ones and I came away dissatisfied ... [and] am not in a position to vote for his confirmation." Whitehouse cited his concern with reinstating a Republican-appointee majority on the court that, when the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was alive, "issued so many partisan 5-to-4 decisions ... whose results really became so disheartenly predictable. And the second was some sense that the flood of money into politics after Citizens United has had an evil effect on our democracy." "I wanted at least some signal or sense from him that he saw these as legitimate public concerns. I am not sure I needed him to go as far as fully agreeing with me, but I really couldn't get anything out from behind his screen of platitudes,"

Sen. Patty Murray will oppose Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court and filibuster him if necessary.
(Democrat - Washington) 03/24/17
“Senate Republicans refused to do their job and refused to hold a single hearing. Second, since taking office two months ago, President Trump has demonstrated complete disregard for law, the U.S. Constitution, and the best interests of American families. He continues to try and force through an un-American, unconstitutional ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants, and he fired an acting attorney general when she refused to compromise her legal judgment in order to conform to his demands. That chaos, coupled with the cloud of an FBI investigation into the president and his associates, has led me to the conclusion that I cannot trust that President Trump is acting in the best interest of our country or our democracy and that I cannot support moving forward with his choice for the Court. I would certainly hope that Republicans don’t change the rules to break the long and important precedent of demanding a 60-vote threshold for lifetime appointments to the highest court in the land. If a nominee can’t get 60 votes, you shouldn’t change the rules, you should change the nominee,”

Sen. Tom Udall to Oppose Gorsuch's Nomination to Serve on the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Mexico) 03/24/17
"I have met with Judge Gorsuch, followed the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and studied his record, and I have decided that I can't support his confirmation. ... e not only failed to answer questions that are critical for me -- his position on the rights of working mothers, whether women can choose their own health care decisions, LGBTQ rights, and dark money in our elections, to name a few - but he failed to convince me that he would be an independent voice on the Court.... Every recent Supreme Court nominee has received at least 60 votes either for cloture or confirmation. Judge Gorsuch will be subject to the same test, and therefore, I will vote no on his confirmation, including cloture. Republican leadership obstructed President Obama's nominee for this seat in an unprecedented fashion. Then President Trump won the election while losing the popular vote. In light of these factors, the president and Republican leadership should negotiate with Democrats on a fair path forward rather than rushing the confirmation process for Judge Gorsuch. I believe Judge Garland could have won 60 votes had he been allowed to make his case before the Senate. And I still hope that there's a way to ensure he is seated."

Sen. Heitkamp discusses Gorsuch & filibuster with ND Editorial Bd
(Democrat - North Dakota) 03/24/17
Heitkamp also signaled some openness to Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who testified before lawmakers this week. Heitkamp said in a Thursday statement that she is still reviewing his nomination. Asked about Gorsuch on Friday, Heitkamp praised his familiarity with tribal sovereignty and public land issues, and pointed out his willingness to curb federal agencies' discretion interpreting the law. Despite some Democrats' indication that they might be willing to filibuster Gorsuch's confirmation, Heitkamp pointed out that a vote to end a filibuster and to confirm Gorsuch are two separate things. The political will among Democrats might not be strong enough to keep a filibuster in place, she said, even if it might be strong enough to keep support for Gorsuch to less than the necessary 60 votes.

Sen. Reed to Vote No on Judge Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/24/17
“I will not support Judge Gorsuch for the highest court in the land. After carefully examining his judicial record and listening to his testimony, I believe he is a poor choice for the United States Supreme Court.... The Founders’ original intent was never for corporations to become more powerful than citizens. Under a Justice Gorsuch, companies could increase their influence over our elections. Judge Gorsuch has a propensity for ruling against workers in labor and employment disputes. In the so-called “frozen trucker case,” he twisted a statute to insist that a trucker stranded in sub-zero conditions should have been fired for seeking safety. ... Many of Judge Gorsuch’s legal decisions are based on an overly narrow view of our laws. Indeed, during his hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected his legal theory that would have gutted the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“IDEA”). ... During his hearing, and in our meeting, he repeatedly declined to answer even basic questions. ... Judge Gorsuch has a not-so-hidden agenda. His record as a judge shows he repeatedly used concurring and dissenting opinions to go well beyond the facts of a case to make broad, ideological statements.... I will vote no on cloture and no on his nomination.”

Manchin cautions on Gorsuch filibuster
(Democrat - West Virginia) 03/23/17
“That’s not what the Founding Fathers decided for this body. This body’s a very unique body, a very deliberate body, supposed to be the teapot cooling the tea off,” Manchin said.... for Manchin, who said he’s “not a big filibuster guy to begin with,” Gorsuch should get an up-or-down vote unless a lawmakers has an actual, strong concern about him. “How do you preserve the Senate? How do you preserve the input that the minority should have? Because what goes around comes around,” he said.... for Manchin, who said he’s “not a big filibuster guy to begin with,” Gorsuch should get an up-or-down vote unless a lawmakers has an actual, strong concern about him. “How do you preserve the Senate? How do you preserve the input that the minority should have? Because what goes around comes around,” he said.Manchin said Democrats should be concerned with whether he’s too far right or center-right. “Well, he’s replacing Antonin Scalia, who is very, very conservative. So you can look at it evaluate it — well, is he more nontraditional or more conservative than Antonin Scalia? If he fits in the same wheelhouse, then you can [look at the] justice saying, ‘That kind of fits the same parameter as who he’s replacing.’” Couric suggested that “given that parameter,” it sounded as though Manchin planned to vote “yes” on Gorsuch. “Let’s just say I’m a very open-minded person,” he replied.

Sen. Wyden: Gorsuch’s History on Torture and Secret Law is Disqualifying for Supreme Court: “I will vote ‘No’ on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” Wyden Says
(Democrat - Oregon) 03/23/17
“Given Judge Gorsuch’s history of working to advance the damaging practice of secret law, his record of preferring corporations over individuals and his support of state interference with an individual’s right to make their own decisions about the most personal of issues, I will vote no on his nomination and I will vote to sustain a filibuster.”

Sen. Schumer: Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch nomination
(Democrat - New York) 03/23/17
Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, faced a critical blow on Thursday as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would join with other Democrats in attempting to filibuster the nomination .... “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees, and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee,” he said.... Schumer said that Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump. He said later that the judge is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology. He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”... Gorsuch “declined to answer question after question after question with any substance. . . . All we have to judge the judge on is his record,” Schumer said.

Sen. Durbin Letter to the Editor: Gorsuch showed his true values with his ruling on the 'frozen trucker' case
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/23/17
"Maddin’s position was ruled on by seven different administrative and court judges. All but one judge ruled against the trucking company. That one judge was Gorsuch.... he 10th Circuit majority noted that Judge Gorsuch cherry-picked one dictionary’s definition to favor the company. Other dictionaries, and the law’s purpose of protecting health and safety, favored Maddin.... we can only look at his record in deciding whether he should be given a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land.... Every judge brings values to the court and in close, hard cases those values can tip the balance on the meaning of the law or the facts before the court. Al Maddin was more than just an unlucky truck driver. He was a hardworking American entitled to justice in our courts."

Sen. Sanders Opposes Gorsuch
(Independent - Vermont) 03/23/17
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement: "Americans deserve a Supreme Court justice who respects the rights of workers to be treated fairly instead of bowing to big business. We cannot stand by while the court dismantles the Voting Rights Act and lets cowards in statehouses erect roadblocks to voting. We must keep campaigns free of the corrupting influence of big money and not go further down the dangerous path that began with the disastrous Citizens United ruling. We cannot risk a court that would put in jeopardy the privacy rights of all Americans and a woman's right to control her body. I had looked forward to Judge Neil Gorsuch sharing his views on the Supreme Court’s critical role on some of the most important issues in America. Instead, he refused to answer legitimate questions and brought the confirmation process to a new low in a thick fog of evasion. After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s record, I have concluded that I will not vote to confirm him to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and I will not support Republican efforts to change the rules to choke off debate and ram the nomination through the Senate."