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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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[Sen. Sherrod Brown] Portman, Brown Request Applications for U.S. District Judgeship Vacancies in Ohio's Southern and Northern Districts
(Democrat - Ohio) 03/13/17
“I thank Judge Frost and Judge Nugent for their many years of dedicated and thoughtful public service,” said Brown. “I know the commission is devoted to finding the best possible candidates to continue his important work.” NOTE: The President of the United States nominates U.S. District Court Judges based on recommendations from U.S. Senators. Nominees must then be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate. U.S. District Courts are general trial courts which hear both civil and criminal cases. In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio’s federal bench, Portman and Brown are working to establish a bipartisan judicial advisory commission. Members of the commission will be chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy. This is a process that was first established by Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH).

[Sen. Portman] Portman, Brown Request Applications for U.S. District Judgeship Vacancies in Ohio's Southern and Northern Districts
(Republican - Ohio) 03/13/17
“We wish both Judge Frost and Judge Nugent well in their retirement, and thank them for their years of public service,” said Portman. “The commission will weigh the best candidates and give Ohioans an opportunity to have input on the selection.” NOTE: The President of the United States nominates U.S. District Court Judges based on recommendations from U.S. Senators. Nominees must then be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate. U.S. District Courts are general trial courts which hear both civil and criminal cases. In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio’s federal bench, Portman and Brown are working to establish a bipartisan judicial advisory commission. Members of the commission will be chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy. This is a process that was first established by Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH).

Sen. Klobuchar: In Speech at Center for American Progress, Klobuchar Discusses How Vigorous Antitrust Enforcement Can Strengthen U.S. Economy
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/13/17
"In short, tackling concentrations of power is a linchpin to a healthy economy and democracy. For the last few decades, however, Supreme Court cases—like Trinko, Credit Suisse, Leegin, among others—have raised barriers to the pursuit of antitrust cases. And as Judge Gorsuch is an antitrust expert, it’ll be a good thing to pursue with him next week. Because these are important questions, especially in light of the broad economic implications."

Sen. Leahy: During Sunshine Week, Leahy Calls On Judge Gorsuch To Provide Complete & Truthful Answers To The Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/13/17
“I hope next week, when the president’s Supreme Court nominee will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he provides transparent, truthful answers to Senators’ questions,” Leahy said. “I will insist on real answers from Judge Neil Gorsuch, because there are real concerns about his record and his judicial philosophy.”... “The Supreme Court is one of the least transparent parts of our government, and these hearings are one of the only opportunities for the American people to get a glimpse into the institution that protects their most essential rights,” Leahy said. There are real questions about the kind of Justice that Neil Gorsuch would be, and he needs to answer them openly and honestly, not with the kind of dodges and misrepresentations we have heard from other Trump nominees.”... “Given what we have seen thus far from this administration and its nominees – transparency, accountability, and open government are more important than ever,” he said.

Sen. Schumer on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New York) 03/13/17
“Obviously, the social issues are always looming out there with any justice,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “But where he’s particularly vulnerable is in this antiworker, pro-corporate record. And second, he cannot really cite examples of him being independent other than saying, ‘Ask people.’” ... “There’s a whole pattern,” Mr. Schumer said. “He sort of expresses sympathetic words in many of these cases, but then his decision is coldly — he would say pragmatic, we would say coldly — on the side of the big interests.”

Sen. Casey On Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court:
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 03/12/17
Casey said he's withholding full judgment on Gorsuch, a judge of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, until after his confirmation hearing, now slated to begin on March 20. But based on a meeting and his inspection of Gorsuch's record, Casey said he had "real" and "substantial" concerns about elevating him to the nation's highest court. Gorsuch, Casey said, could take the high court in a "more corporate" direction.

Sen. Sanders on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Independent - Vermont) 03/10/17
"We need to understand where Gorsuch is coming from, make clear the American people understand where he is coming from, then reach a conclusion. I happen to believe that [the campaign finance opinion] Citizens United is one of the worst supreme court decisions in the history of this country, we need to know in general where Gorsuch comes from. I happen to believe that women have the right to control their own bodies, and we have to know where Gorsuch comes from on that issue. I am deeply concerned about Republican efforts to undermine democracy through voter suppression, where is he coming from on that issue? Obviously the supreme court has got to respect workers’ rights and not just rule time and time again on behalf of large corporations. Where is Mr Gorsuch on that? Now I think we know where Judge Gorsuch is on all of that. Our job over the next month or two is to get that information out to the American people. There are reasons to say no. You don’t say, ‘I’m going to vote no before I even know who the candidate is.’ If you want to explain to the American people, the American people want to understand why you are doing it, you explain why I worry about the future of democracy when we have voter suppression and we continue Citizens United. What is Judge Gorsuch’s view on that, I think his view is the wrong view. That’s why you vote. I think it’s more effective to give a rational reason.

[Sen. Toomey quote] Senators Casey and Toomey Continue Bipartisan Agreement on District Court Vacancies
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 03/10/17
Sens. Casey and Toomey look forward to continuing this bipartisan process under President Trump, and appointing individuals who demonstrate the intelligence, experience, and character to serve Pennsylvania well on the federal bench. ... "Since 2011, Sen. Casey and I have worked to confirm 14 qualified jurists to fill district court vacancies on the federal bench. This is more than every other state except California and Texas during that time," said Sen. Toomey. "We will continue our bipartisan agreement to ensure that the most capable, knowledgeable and ethical candidates become federal judges serving Pennsylvania." ... Separate judicial nomination advisory panels will be established in the Eastern District and Western District of Pennsylvania ... Each panel will be made up of 20 members, including two co-chairs. Sens. Casey and Toomey will each appoint nine panel members and one co-chair.... There are currently no vacancies in the Middle District.

[Sen. Casey quote] Senators Casey and Toomey Continue Bipartisan Agreement on District Court Vacancies
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 03/10/17
Sens. Casey and Toomey look forward to continuing this bipartisan process under President Trump, and appointing individuals who demonstrate the intelligence, experience, and character to serve Pennsylvania well on the federal bench. "I look forward to working with Sen. Toomey again to recommend highly qualified candidates to the federal bench," Sen. Casey said. "The bipartisan process Sen. Toomey and I have engaged in has helped put 16 judges on the federal bench. Filling these judicial vacancies is critical for the administration of justice in Pennsylvania." ... Separate judicial nomination advisory panels will be established in the Eastern District and Western District of Pennsylvania ... Each panel will be made up of 20 members, including two co-chairs. Sens. Casey and Toomey will each appoint nine panel members and one co-chair.... There are currently no vacancies in the Middle District.

Sen. Nelson remains undecided on Gorsuch
(Democrat - Florida) 03/09/17
Sen. Bill Nelson met with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for an hour on Tuesday but remains undecided on whether he can support him. “The two discussed several topics and Nelson expressed his concerns about the suppression of voting rights and the amount of undisclosed, unlimited money in campaigns,” spokesman Ryan Brown said in an email. “Afterward, Nelson said he will continue to review his record before making a decision.”

Sen. Franken’s Statement on Meeting with Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch: Senator Says He is Skeptical of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Says Meeting Did Nothing to Convince Him Otherwise
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/07/17
Sen. Franken released the following statement on Tuesday after meeting this afternoon with Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the highest court in the land. “As a member of the Judiciary Committee, my responsibility is to provide advice and consent for nominees to the Supreme Court. So earlier this year, when the White House asked what I wanted to see in their candidate for the Court, I said I wanted a mainstream consensus builder like Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee that Republicans shamefully refused to even take up. I am skeptical that Judge Neil Gorsuch could be that kind of consensus candidate, and our meeting did little to convince me otherwise. As a judge, he’s often ruled in favor of big corporations over workers and consumers, and against women’s health, including access to birth control. I’m going to continue studying his record thoroughly, of course, because I also plan to ask him tough questions during the Judiciary Committee hearings. The American people deserve to see his record and judicial philosophy on full display, so that they can decide for themselves whether he is the right person for this very serious job.”

[Sen. Murray] Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record
(Democrat - Washington) 03/07/17
Senator Patty Murray said, “On the campaign trail, President Trump made a promise to stand up for workers—and he’s breaking that promise by nominating a judge with such a distinctly anti-worker record. Time after time, Judge Gorsuch sided with employers and against workers even in dire circumstances, and I am very concerned that should he end up on the Court, he would side with conservative justices in continuing to undermine workers’ protections, safety, and ability to organize.”

Sen. Franken skeptical of Gorsuch nomination after meeting
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/07/17
Franken, who serves on the committee, told reporters after the meeting that he was not satisfied with many of the answers he got from Gorsuch, particularly on "corporate" rulings made by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts over the past 12 years and on the nomination of Merrick Garland last year. "I do have my doubts about whether he won't be another fifth vote for an activist, pro-corporate court like we've seen with the Roberts Court," Franken said. "I have some skepticism ... I do believe this court, under [John] Roberts, I don't think they've called balls and strikes. I think they've changed the strike zone." He revealed that Gorsuch was not "familiar" with the "Biden rule," which the Republicans used as a reasoning for not bringing Garland's nomination up for a hearing or a vote last year.... "That was an area where I didn't really get a satisfactory answer. I asked him about the so-called 'Biden rule' that's been completely ... misrepresented by my colleagues," Franken said. "He said he wasn't familiar with it, and he says he's a great admirer of Merrick Garland." The Minnesota Democrat said that Gorsuch answered many of his questions in "judge speak" and deflected with many of his answers.

[Sen. Merkely] Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record
(Democrat - Oregon) 03/07/17
Senator Jeff Merkley said, “Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record is clear. Between employees and employers, he sides with employers. Between caring for disabled workers or a company’s bottom line, he sides with the company. When it comes to the safety of our workers versus a business, or the security of workers’ retirement versus a business, Judge Gorsuch sides with the business. Regular working Americans need a champion on the bench, and they’re not going to get that with Neil Gorsuch.”

Sens. Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record: Senators and advocates outlined his troubling record on worker safety, disability rights, and other issues important to working families
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 03/07/17
Senator Ed Markey said, “Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for the rights of all Americans against big corporate interests, but Judge Neil Gorsuch is not that Justice. On the bench, Neil Gorsuch has repeatedly advanced an ultra-conservative agenda that sides with corporations and special interests over workers and the disabled. Judge Gorsuch believes that private corporations are people with rights that supersede those of individual Americans. We cannot let Judge Neil Gorsuch become the crucial ninth vote on this Supreme Court.”

Sen. Blumenthal Calls for Transparency From Conservative Organizations That Identified Nominees To Meet Trump's Supreme Court Litmus Test
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/06/17
“The wholesale outsourcing of nominee selection to interest groups is without known precedent, especially for a position as important as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” Blumenthal wrote. “Because of the role you appear to have played in the vetting and selection of Judge Gorsuch, it is imperative that the Committee better understand the nature and content of the communications you had with the nominee, the campaign, the transition team, and the administration.”

Sen. King on Garland and Gorsuch Supreme Court nominations
(Independent - Maine) 03/05/17
He was asked by a member of the audience if he would support the Gorsuch nomination. “I haven’t decided yet,” said Maine’s junior senator, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. King told the audience that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal last year to take up President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court “was wrong.” King said he believes the Senate abdicated its constitutional responsibilities by not acting on Garland’s nomination, “but having said that, we are where we are.”... King said he plans to carefully study Gorsuch, his background, and his rulings because the nominee, if confirmed, could have an impact for decades. “This is a 30-year proposition. Neil Gorsuch is 49 years old. If history is our guide, he could serve into his 70s,” King said.

Senate Judiciary Democrats Request Sessions Testimony on False Statements, Russia Contacts
(Democrat - California) 03/03/17
All nine Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats today requested that Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) call Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appear before the committee to answer questions about false statements during his confirmation process and contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The senators wrote, “The Attorney General’s responses to our questions during his confirmation process were, at best, incomplete and misleading. Given the seriousness of this matter, we do not believe that a written submission to correct the record is sufficient. Members need to hear directly from the Attorney General as well as have the opportunity to ask him questions in public.” Full text of the letter follows:

Sen. Leahy: Attorney General Sessions’ Partial Recusal Does Not Go Far Enough
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/02/17
"He must appear in public before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain why he twice gave misleading testimony under oath and why he failed to disclose such false testimony until prompted by news reports. Such conduct is unacceptable from our nation’s top law enforcement official.... There must be an independent special counsel to investigate Russia’s meddling in our election"

Sen. King meets with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee
(Independent - Maine) 03/01/17
Sen. Angus King held what he called a “productive” meeting with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch Wednesday, and said he will hold a “listening session” in Portland Sunday on the nomination. King did not offer any details on what the two discussed late Wednesday morning and said he will continue to evaluate Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge based in Denver, and follow his confirmation hearings before deciding whether to vote for his confirmation.... King said two experts, Kristine Lucius and Dmitry Bam, will offer overviews of the confirmation process and then the senator will discuss how he is approaching the Gorsuch nomination before opening the floor to members of the audience to offer their opinions or ask questions about Gorsuch.... Mainers “should have the opportunity to raise questions so I can understand what they want to know as the confirmation process moves forward,” King said.

Sen. Feinstein Requests Additional Information Related to Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - California) 02/28/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent four letters this month requesting documents and additional information on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Toomey expresses continued support for Susan Paradise Baxter
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 02/28/17
Toomey and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, supported Obama's nomination of Baxter, 60, a Democrat from Erie who has been a federal magistrate judge for 22 years. Toomey will support a renomination of Baxter under Trump, a Republican, said Toomey's spokesman, Steve Kelly. "Sen. Toomey believes it is crucial to place a sitting judge at the federal courthouse in Erie, which has remained vacant for years," Kelly said. "He believes that Judge Baxter has the intellect, experience and integrity to serve as a federal judge. "Sen. Toomey looks forward to working with Sen. Casey and the White House to fill the vacancy at the Erie courthouse and other pending vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania."

Sen. Heitkamp on Gorsuch Supreme Court nominatoin
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/28/17
She's maintained that she will make the best decision for North Dakota and on Tuesday, she told us that she's reserving that judgment. "I intend to do my job, which is the due diligence that we should all do with a lifetime appointment and that involves actually watching the confirmation hearings," said Heitkamp. Heitkamp says that she did like a lot of what she heard from Gorsuch when they met. She says Gorsuch, who is from Colorado, understands many of the issues facing people in this part of the country.

Sen. Coons on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/28/17
On Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: “I’ve got a lot of homework to do. I look forward to digging into his judicial record, and then we’re going to have confirmation hearings, probably about I think three weeks from now.”

Statement from Senator Hassan Following Her Meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/27/17
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch and to discuss the importance of a strong and independent judiciary. In our conversation, I highlighted the critical role the judicial branch plays in protecting the civil rights of all Americans, including a woman's constitutionally protected right to make her own health decisions. I also emphasized the importance of ensuring equality for LGBTQ individuals, as well as my concerns with the influence of unlimited corporate and dark money in American politics. I will continue to thoroughly vet Judge Gorsuch's record and views throughout the hearing process.”

Sen. Blumenthal on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Connecticut) 02/26/17
“I will do everything I can in terms of legal action outside of the Senate as well as being relentless within the Senate to stop and to resist any infringement on the power of the courts,” he said. “We can talk about alternative facts. But nobody is above the law.”... “Let me just clarify,” he said. “I will use the filibuster. I will use every tool at our disposal to fight a nominee who will change the balance of power on the court, and who is out of the mainstream.” “I haven’t taken a public position on Gorsuch,” Blumenthal added, “but remember, the president who nominated him established a set of litmus tests: the nominee has to be pro-life, very pro-Second Amendment, and of a conservative bent. Judge Gorsuch has an obligation to answer those questions, and if he doesn’t, we have to assume that he passes the Trump litmus test. And if that’s the case, I would use the filibuster. I would use every tool at my disposal.”

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.

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.