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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Kaine To Oppose Jeff Sessions For Attorney General
(Democrat - Virginia) 02/01/17
“I was a civil rights lawyer for 17 years and know that one of the most important roles of the Justice Department is to protect civil rights. This calls for an Attorney General whose commitment to marginalized communities is strong in both word and deed. Unfortunately, Senator Sessions has a long, public record that reflects the opposite. He has called the Voting Rights Act ‘intrusive’ and has demonstrated a poor commitment to desegregating schools in his home state of Alabama. At a time when there is a dire need for improved relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, I do not feel that someone with Senator Sessions’s history on these issues would play a constructive role in safeguarding civil rights and improving race relations as head of the Justice Department. “In addition, I have concerns about Senator Sessions’s support for the extreme interrogation techniques used during the Bush Administration. Senator Sessions’s statements about waterboarding and his votes against prohibiting the use of torture do not convince me that a Justice Department under his leadership would uphold American values regarding the decent and humane treatment of detainees. “While I respect Senator Sessions as a colleague and have had the pleasure to work alongside him on the Armed Services Committee, I will oppose his nomination to be Attorney General.”

Sen. Peters Statement Opposing Sen. Jeff Sessions Nomination for Attorney General
(Democrat - Michigan) 02/01/17
“The U.S. Attorney General is responsible for protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and I do not believe that Senator Sessions’ past positions and comments are consistent with carrying out that duty. He has denigrated respected civil rights organizations like the NAACP. He also fiercely opposed legislative efforts to protect voting rights and shield women and LGBT Americans from domestic and sexual violence—laws that he would be required to enforce as Attorney General. “Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney General’s first loyalty must be to our Constitution and the rule of law, not the President’s personal political interests. Given his involvement with a number of recent executive orders that run counter to our fundamental American values, I am not confident that Senator Sessions will maintain the Justice Department’s independence or stand up to President Trump’s harmful policies. “Senator Sessions’ record of positions shows a disregard for laws that safeguard Americans’ most fundamental rights, and I cannot support his nomination to be our nation’s highest law enforcement officer.”

Sen. Klobuchar Statement on the President’s Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Minnesota) 02/01/17
“Senators have a solemn obligation to advise and consent on a President’s nominee for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court makes decisions that affect the lives of people across the country. We need to thoroughly examine Judge Gorsuch, his respect for precedent, and his views on issues that matter to the American people. I have concerns about his views and record on issues including those involving separation of powers, campaign finance, and consumer protection. This nominee deserves serious scrutiny. And to be clear, there is a 60 vote threshold for this nominee to be confirmed, it’s not 51 like the other nominees that are before us now.”

Sen. Peters Statement on President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - Michigan) 02/01/17
“Just as President Obama did, President Trump has a constitutional responsibility to nominate Justices to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, and the U.S. Senate has a constitutional responsibility to consider those nominees. For 293 days, Senate Republicans failed to fulfill that duty by denying President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, the same thorough and public consideration process that they are now urging for President Trump’s nominee. “I take very seriously the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent on all nominees, and every individual who could be serving on our nation’s highest court deserves to be fully vetted. As President Trump’s nominee moves through the judicial hearing process, I will be carefully reviewing his qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court, which is a pillar of American democracy.”

Sen. Hirono Floor Statement on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Hawaii) 02/01/17
" By firing Sally Yates, the President demonstrated once again that he values loyalty to himself above service to the American people and adherence to the Constitution. This is particularly disturbing as we begin to consider the President's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to sit on the Supreme Court. I am only beginning to scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's record, but I am very concerned that he will be a rubberstamp for President Trump's radical agenda. You don't have to take my word for it. You only have to listen to what the President has been saying over the past 2 years. In June 2015, then-Candidate Trump told CNN's Jake Tapper that he would apply a pro-life litmus test for his nominees to the Supreme Court. He did it again at a press conference last March, during the third Presidential debate, and shortly after his election. This isn't the only litmus test President Trump promised to apply. In February 2016, President Trump committed to appointing a Justice who would allow businesses and individuals to deny women access to health care on the basis of so-called religious freedom. In February 2016, President Trump told Joe Scarborough he would make upholding the Heller decision on guns another litmus test for his Supreme Court nominee. Like tens of millions of Americans, I am deeply concerned that President Trump applied each of these tests before he nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. In the weeks and months ahead, I will carefully and extensively scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's record. I will question him on his judicial philosophy and how he interprets the Constitution. I will insist he clarify his position on a woman's constitutionally protected right to choose, on voting rights, and the appropriate balance between corporate interests and individual rights. I will do my job as a United States Senator. The American people deserve nothing less from each of us."

Sen. Donnelly Statement on Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Indiana) 02/01/17
“As I have said part of our job as Senators includes considering, debating, and voting on judicial nominations, including to the Supreme Court. I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Neil Gorsuch.”

Sen. Whitehouse Votes ‘No’ on Sessions in Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 02/01/17
“Senator Sessions has a long history of demonstrated, open hostility for bedrock civil rights laws, and failed repeatedly to vigorously distance himself from extremist hate groups that hold him up as a champion of their perverse ideologies,” said Whitehouse in a prepared statement at the Committee meeting.

Senator Gillibrand Statement On President Trump's Nomination Of Judge Neil Gorsuch To U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - New York) 02/01/17
“All branches of the federal government should stand on the side of the citizens they were created to serve. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of justice for our citizens. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch has proven to have a judicial philosophy outside of the mainstream and time and again has subjugated individual rights to those of corporations. I fundamentally disagree with his ruling that a boss should be able to make family planning decisions for an employee and that corporations are people. I plan to stand up for individuals over corporations and oppose his nomination, and I will insist that his nomination meet a traditional 60 vote threshold.”

Sen. Warren Floor Statement on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 02/01/17
"Billionaires and corporate giants have launched a full-scale attack on fair-minded, mainstream judges. It has happened at every level of our judiciary, but the best example was the unprecedented blockade of Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court.... The nomination of Judge Gorsuch is a huge gift to the giant corporations and wealthy individuals who have stolen a Supreme Court seat in order to make sure that the justice system works for them. ...We cannot stand down when the President of the United States hands our highest Court over to the highest bidder, and that is why I will oppose Judge Gorsuch's nomination."

Sen. McCaskill on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination and potential filibuster
(Democrat - Missouri) 02/01/17
"I believe any nominee to the Supreme Court deserves a confirmation hearing, and the chance to earn 60 votes on the Senate floor," adding that she was going to take a "hard look" at Gorsuch's views and record.

Sen. Hirono Statement on Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Hawaii) 01/31/17
“In his first two weeks as President, Donald Trump has demonstrated minimal tolerance for independent thinking and dissent. I am deeply concerned that his choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be a rubber stamp for the President's radical agenda. We owe it to the American people to vet this nominee extensively and exhaustively. In the weeks and months ahead, I will carefully scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's judicial philosophy, his views on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, his position on voting rights, and his thoughts on the balance between individual rights and corporate power, among other subjects.”

SEN. MURPHY STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT ANNOUNCEMENT
(Democrat - Connecticut) 01/31/17
“I want a Supreme Court Justice who will fairly interpret the law, uphold the Constitution, and keep politics out of the courtroom. I want a mainstream judge, not an ideological partisan. I’ll take a close look at Judge Gorsuch’s record and judicial philosophy, and ultimately make my decision based on whether he meets those straightforward expectations.”

Sen. Shaheen Statement on President Trump's Nomination of Judge Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 01/31/17
“The independence of the Supreme Court is of utmost importance,” said Shaheen. “Judge Gorsuch must demonstrate that he will rule independently of political influence or pressure, and defend the Constitution. I will thoroughly review Gorsuch’s record and his testimony during the nomination process. However, I will not support any candidate who intends to turn back the clock on civil rights, including women’s reproductive rights and LGBT equality.”

Senator Hassan Statement on President Trump’s Nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 01/31/17
"The first week of the Trump administration underscored the need for a strong and independent judiciary that will serve as a check on the executive branch. I will thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch’s record throughout the hearing process so that I – and the American people – can determine whether he would protect the civil rights of all Americans and how he would evaluate the constitutionality of executive orders like President Trump's un-American immigration ban.”

Sen. Menendez Statement on Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/31/17
“Just as the President has the right to put forth a nominee of his choosing to fill this vacancy on the Supreme Court, the Senate has the Constitutional duty to consider his nominee by thoroughly and fairly examining his qualifications and record. “As a member of the United States Senate, I take this Constitutional obligation seriously because the decisions made by the United States Supreme Court affect the lives of every single American. I plan to carefully and closely review Judge Gorsuch’s entire legal career and judicial record, meet with him personally and determine if his interpretation of our Constitution is representative of long-standing American values. He must prove his dedication to fairness, nondiscriminatory justice, the equal protection of all Americans under the law, and the ideals of this country. “Most importantly, as a Supreme Court Justice, Judge Gorsuch must demonstrate he understands that the Supreme Court is the main safeguard of our Constitution and must remain an independent, equal branch of government, and no Justice can be beholden to the interests of any one person or group – including those of the president who appoints him.”

Sen. Carper on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Delaware) 01/31/17
"Given President Trump’s actions in defiance of our Constitution and our values during these early moments of his administration, I will also insist that Judge Gorsuch meet and exceed the highest bar before being approved by the United States Senate," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. "My Democratic colleagues will insist on a fair, open and transparent process, and I implore my Republican colleagues to remember that minority rights must be preserved to prevent further politicization of the judiciary."

SEN. SHERROD BROWN ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO GORSUCH; Senator: Supreme Court Must Put Families over Wall St. – Gorsuch Doesn’t Pass that Test
(Democrat - Ohio) 01/31/17
“The people of Ohio deserve Supreme Court Justices who will defend the rights of working families over Wall Street and corporate special interests – and Judge Gorsuch’s record doesn’t pass that test,” Brown said. “I cannot support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people. The Supreme Court has enormous influence over the lives of everyday Ohioans, and any nominee must be willing to defend their rights to make their own healthcare decisions, collectively bargain for safe workplaces and fair pay, and to be protected from discrimination and Wall Street greed.”

Sen. Shaheen Statement in Opposition to Sen. Sessions' Nomination to Serve as U.S. Attorney General
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 01/31/17
“After reviewing Senator Sessions’ extensive record, I cannot in good conscience support his nomination to serve as Attorney General,” said Shaheen. “His history of obstructing protections for minority voting rights, LGTBQ individuals, women, and criminal justice reform efforts, is very troubling. It is clear this President is intent on undermining our values as an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming nation. It’s disturbing that Senator Sessions played a key role in crafting recent executive orders, including the Muslim ban, which are antithetical to our country’s founding principles. I cannot support a nominee to serve as Attorney General who will harness the authority of the Department of Justice to support this offensive agenda.”

Sen. Manchin on potential filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nominee
(Democrat - West Virginia) 01/31/17
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), ... said Tuesday — before the nominee was named — that he would support the dilatory tactic if he found the nominee to be out of the mainstream. “I’m not filibustering for the sake of person, I won’t do that,” Manchin said. “I will look at their past findings, their past writings, and how they’ve been involved and make my decision. If I’m against that person, I will vote against them for cloture,” he said. “I’m not going to be voting for cloture and then have 51 votes to get somebody in,” he said.

U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 01/31/17
“President Trump took an oath eleven days ago to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, but since he was sworn into office he has pursued a go it alone approach of extremism. With this Supreme Court nomination, President Trump has made it clear he has no interest in being a President for all Americans and that he is intent on creating more division in our country. Instead of putting forward a mainstream nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat, he has offered someone who will have a hard time earning bipartisan support. “The importance of the Supreme Court and the decisions they make have a profound effect on the daily lives of all Americans so I will do my job to fully review Judge Gorsuch’s record. I also look forward to meeting with him because I have a number of concerns and questions about his deeply troubling record, particularly his rulings against disabled students, against workers, and against women’s reproductive health care. “The American people deserve an independent Supreme Court Justice who will protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans, not someone who will put his own political preferences above the law and legislate President Trump’s far right agenda from the bench of our nation’s highest court. That is the test I will apply as I give fair consideration to this nomination.”

Sen. Van Hollen on potential filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 01/31/17
"The American public deserves a thorough vetting. People need to make sure that we have a Supreme Court justice who is in the mainstream and ultimately that's why we have a 60-vote requirement to make sure whoever it is can get that consensus," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said before Trump's nominee was announced. "I'm very worried that the person may not fit that pattern, but we need to wait and see."

Sen. Wyden Statement on Nomination of Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court
(Democrat - Oregon) 01/31/17
“The Gorsuch nomination represents a breathtaking retreat from the notion that Americans have a fundamental right to Constitutional liberties, and harkens back to the days when politicians restricted a people’s rights on a whim,” Wyden said. “His opposition to legal death with dignity as successfully practiced in Oregon is couched in the sort of jurisprudence that justified the horrific oppression of one group after another in our first two centuries. No Senator who believes that individual rights are reserved to the people, and not the government, can support this nomination.”

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Trump Supreme Court Pick
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
“The most important question President Trump’s nominee will face is where he will stand on the special interest politics that has stricken the Court. For years, a gang of five Republican appointees took direction from big right-wing lobbies. Their efforts have corrupted our politics with special-interest ‘dark money’; exacerbated the plague of guns; protected powerful corporations from answering to juries; busted unions; and given Republicans election advantages. Often, the Gang of 5 ignored conservative judicial doctrine to achieve political outcomes benefitting a ‘usual suspects’ list of special interests active before the Court. This has to stop, and Judge Gorsuch must pledge to stop it.”

Sen. Franken’s Statement on President Trump’s Nomination of Neil Gorsuch for U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/31/17
"Long before his election, President Trump promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, who held a deeply conservative view of the Constitution and the Court. In the coming weeks, I will be closely examining Neil Gorsuch's background, but I have serious concerns about his judicial philosophy-especially on issues like access to justice, corporate accountability, workers' rights, and women's health. I was hopeful that the President would have selected someone like Merrick Garland, a consensus candidate lauded by the same Republicans who ultimately refused to hold a hearing on him for nearly a year."

Sen. Warren opposes Sessions Attorney General nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 01/31/17
"Last night, the acting Attorney General of the United States refused to defend President Trump’s unlawful and unconstitutional Muslim ban, so Donald Trump fired her. Let me repeat: the President of the United States just fired the nation’s top law enforcement officer for refusing to defend an illegal, unconstitutional and deeply immoral order. Now, the President expects the Senate to replace her with Senator Jeff Sessions – a man whose career has been defined by open hostility to civil rights, immigrants, and the rule of law. Sessions is so dangerous that a Republican-controlled Senate rejected his nomination to a federal judgeship 30 years ago. It’s time for the Senate to stand up for the Constitution and exert moral leadership. I will vote against the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, and I urge my colleagues to do so as well."

Sen. Cardin on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 01/31/17
“During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would use litmus tests and select a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia. I intend to dig deeply into Judge Gorsuch’s judicial and public record, but if he does fit into that extremist mold, it is troubling. 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. We cannot reverse our progress. We cannot strip away rights from Americans. Even as our new president chooses to disregard major provisions of our Constitution and laws, our next Supreme Court Justice must have a passion for the protections found in the Constitution, the foundational legal document of our nation, and he must serve independently of the President that appoints him. The nominee must respect and embrace the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, as symbolized by the phrase ‘equal justice under law’ engraved on the Supreme Court’s entrance. “For nearly a year, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans shamefully failed to respect that President Obama was the duly elected president and had the authority and responsibility to put forward a nominee for the United States Supreme Court – and the Senate had the obligation to provide advice and consent for that nominee, Merrick Garland. This reckless course of action by 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. “For these reasons, it is important that the next Justice be mainstream in his legal views so that the judicial branch of our government can serve as an independent check on the President and Congress in our Constitutional system of government.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Nevada) 01/31/17
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said she would wait for the confirmation hearing process to determine whether to support or oppose the nominee. Cortez Masto said she would evaluate the nominee on “individual merits and without bias. That’s what I have been doing and will continue to do.” “Any individual who is nominated to serve on the Supreme Court will be making decisions with broad implications for our safety, our rights and our core values as Americans,” she said, “… and I believe Judge Neil Gorsuch’s views on the issues and his full record deserves to be intensely scrutinized.”

Sen. Feinstein: ‘I Must Vote No’ on Sessions
(Democrat - California) 01/31/17

Senator Murray on President Trump Firing Acting Attorney General: More Important Than Ever That Justice Department Works Free From Fear of Retaliation
(Democrat - Washington) 01/31/17
"I urge President Trump to halt all retaliatory firings, and in this difficult and chaotic time, this unfortunate action is one more good reason to slow down and carefully scrutinize the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General given the questions that should be asked regarding whether he is truly ready to stand up to President Trump and defend our laws, our values, and our Constitution."