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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Cruz: Breaking up 9th Circuit Court ‘a possibility’
(Republican - Texas) 04/27/17
“I think that’s a topic I can easily see the [Senate] Judiciary Committee taking up, and we’ll have to see whether we have to votes to do that or not.” Cruz added that California’s inclusion in the court’s jurisdiction has given it a liberal tilt. “I think many of the Western states are weighted down by California,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate said. “California has a ton of very liberal, left-wing judges that they put on the 9th Circuit. I think a lot of the other Western states would love to be freed from that corrosive left-wing influence.”

Sen. Risch on White House agrees to re-nominate Judge Nye for long-vacant Idaho federal judgeship
(Republican - Idaho) 04/27/17
The White House has signed off on the re-nomination of Idaho Judge David Nye to fill Idaho’s long-vacant federal district judgeship, Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch said Thursday.... Nye won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last June, but his nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate ... Though Crapo and Risch continued pushing for the Idaho nomination, they had to start over after the election, to get new President Donald Trump to sign on. "We have been in constant communication with the White House regarding Judge Nye," Risch said Thursday. "The White House has assured us that he will be in the first wave of judges to advance, and we anticipate that happening soon."

Sen. Schumer slaps down Trump's plans for 9th Circuit
(Democrat - New York) 04/26/17
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday he rejects any plans by President Trump to break up the 9th Circuit Court. Schumer responded to Trump's Wednesday interview with the Washington Examiner, in which he said he is "absolutely" looking at breaking up the 9th Circuit with a two-word tweet. "Absolutely not," Schumer said.

Majority Leader McConnell Introduces Judge Thapar from Kentucky at Nomination Hearing
(Republican - Kentucky) 04/26/17
"Through this hearing, I think you will come to see the bright, fair, and dedicated man who will make an incredible addition to the Sixth Circuit. Indeed, on Monday the American Bar Association gave him their highest rating, unanimously well-qualified."

Prepared Statement by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Hearing on Nominations
(Republican - Iowa) 04/26/17
I’m pleased to hold this nominations hearing for the first Circuit Court nominee of this Congress, Judge Thapar. In 2008, Judge Thapar became the first-ever South Asian American Article III Judge and if confirmed now, he’ll only be the second ever South Asian American judge to serve on an appellate court."

Sen. Warren on Money and Garland and Gorsuch Supreme Court nominations
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 04/26/17
"I mean, what did you think when you saw billionaires jump in a little over a year ago when Justice Scalia died? President Obama comes up with the all-American consensus candidate, Merrick Garland, someone who had won praise from not just the left but the right, and the hammer drops, bam! Mitch McConnell announces, "We're not even going to meet with him, we're not going to have any hearings," and money starts rolling in. You know, if money hadn't rolled in to start running those ads against Merrick Garland, to threaten to run ads against Republicans who didn't fall into line, then my guess is a lot of folks across America, Democrats and Republicans, would have said, "You know, he looks like a pretty good choice. He doesn't excite anybody on either end of the spectrum, [but he’s] the sort of guy who ought to be able to get 60 votes. Let's give him a hearing, let's see what he's like." And he would be sitting on the United States Supreme Court. Instead, money made itself felt in that process, and what we ended up with is a justice who, again, money was spent to advance [Neil] Gorsuch."

Judiciary Committee Member Sen. Lindsey Graham hopes blue slip process does not change
(Republican - South Carolina) 04/23/17
Also unclear is whether the traditional practice will persist in which both senators from a state, regardless of party, consult with the White House on a nominee and then have to approve of the nominee for the Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward.... Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a committee member, says he thinks the future of the bipartisan process is "the real fight" going forward. He says he hopes it doesn't change. "I think there's a lot of desire to keep that power within the Senate," he said.

Report: Sen. Schumer on NY federal judicial nominee Senate Judiciary Committee approved unanimously in 2016
(Democrat - New York) 04/19/17
[S]enators can use a "blue slip" veto to block judicial nominees from their home state. That tradition gives Schumer and other Democratic senators more leverage over home-state federal court appointments. Schumer declined to comment for this article, but he has remained adamant that the judicial nominee he recommended to then-President Barack Obama for the post in Buffalo, Kathleen Sweet, be confirmed as Buffalo's next federal judge. "Sen. Schumer continues to support her candidacy," Jason Kaplan, a spokesman for Schumer, said earlier this month. "He believes that Kathleen Sweet, a talented lawyer who has a deep commitment to Buffalo, a city where she was born and raised, would still be an outstanding nominee."

Senators Cantwell and Murray Reaffirm Bipartisan Choices for Western District Vacancies
(Democrat - Washington) 04/14/17
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA)and Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statements after forwarding the candidates selected by Washington state’s bipartisan judicial selection committee to the Trump Administration: Senator Cantwell: “This bipartisan judicial selection committee is so important to our judicial system. It helps ensure an independent, bottom-up process to identify qualified, mainstream judicial nominees. I hope President Trump will continue to use our bipartisan process and nominate one of these highly qualified candidates selected by this committee to reflect the voice and values of our state.”... Following long-standing Washington state tradition, and in order to ensure a bipartisan process to fill vacant seats on the federal courts, Sens. Murray and Cantwell joined Rep. Reichert in July of 2015 to create a new judicial selection committee to evaluate interested candidates. The committee, comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans from Western Washington, screened potential candidates and presented its choice of the most highly-qualified to Murray and Cantwell, who then forwarded the names to President Obama.

Sens. Murray and Cantwell Reaffirm Bipartisan Choices for Western District Vacancies
(Democrat - Washington) 04/14/17
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statements after forwarding the candidates selected by Washington state’s bipartisan judicial selection committee to the Trump Administration: Senator Murray: “On Wednesday I talked to White House Counsel Don McGahn about the urgent need to fill the vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, as well the importance and strong history of our state’s bipartisan judicial selection process. I reminded him that the bipartisan selection process that Senator Cantwell, Rep. Reichert, and I set up in 2015 to fill these vacancies had already done the work of screening candidates and had come up with a list of five highly qualified candidates that were sent to the previous Administration. Per his request, I followed up today to reaffirm the list of highly qualified candidates that had been selected by our bipartisan committee. I am glad that this Administration is taking steps to continue this important bipartisan process, and I look forward to the President nominating judges from our bipartisan list as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Toomey supports renomination of Obama judicial nominee
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 04/13/17
On whether he would support a renomination of U.S. Magistrate Susan Paradise Baxter, a Democrat from Erie, to fill Erie’s vacant federal judge seat. Toomey supported Baxter when President Barack Obama nominated her in 2015, but with a new president, the process to fill vacancies has reset: “I am supportive. I went to great lengths to try to get Judge Baxter across the line. We weren’t quite able to do that. But we’ll have another opportunity.”

Sen. Coons on filling Delaware district court vacancy
(Democrat - Delaware) 04/09/17
Sen. Christopher A. Coons, Delaware Democrat, said he has had a “very constructive conversation about the path forward” with the administration about filling the one district court opening in his home state.

Senator Hassan Statement Following Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 04/07/17
“After studying Judge Neil Gorsuch's record, meeting with him in my office, and hearing from people across New Hampshire, I voted against Judge Gorsuch's nomination because he failed to demonstrate that he would put the rights of hard-working Americans ahead of big corporations and ahead of a cold judicial philosophy. Supreme Court nominees should be able to clear a 60-vote threshold, and I'm disappointed that instead of urging President Trump to nominate a more mainstream nominee, Senate Republicans decided to change the rules of the road. "Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court justice who will rise above ideology and protect the rights that we hold dear. Unfortunately, nothing in Neil Gorsuch's record has shown that he will be such a justice."

(Democrat - Oregon) 04/07/17
“Today, for the first time in history, the theft of a Supreme Court seat has been completed, profoundly damaging the integrity of the Court. From today forward, every 5-4 decision with Neil Gorsuch in the majority will lack the same legitimacy it would have held before. Now, the Court is just one more political entity to be rigged in political parties’ favor, with dismal consequences for the American people. “Gorsuch’s extreme views on worker protections, women’s rights, corporate power, campaign cash and more will have very real and damaging repercussions for the American people for decades to come. Today is a very dark day for America.”

Sen. Grassley on circuit and district court nominee blue slip requirement
(Republican - Iowa) 04/07/17
One hurdle is the “blue slip” process, in which senators are asked to review judicial nominees who are slated to take seats in their home states. If both senators from the state don’t return their blue slips, the nomination is usually put on hold. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, told reporters Friday that although “there’s been some exception to the blue slip rule,” he generally intends to follow the tradition for Mr. Trump’s nominees.

Sen. King Statement on Confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Independent - Maine) 04/07/17
“While I did not support Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation, I do sincerely hope that the concerns that led me to vote no today will be proven wrong. I would be delighted if this were the case in the long-term. However, today I had to vote my convictions and not my hopes.”

Sen. Cardin Votes Against Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 04/07/17
"After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and thoroughly reviewing his record, I am deeply troubled by his nomination and his potential impact on the Supreme Court. “Judge Gorsuch’s 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. His ideology could move the country backwards on guaranteeing equal justice under the law for all Americans, putting powerful special interests above individual rights. His activist views and opinions as a judge make it difficult for me to believe he can separate his political views from his legal analysis. He said little of substance at his confirmation hearing that could demonstrate that he would serve as an independent check on this president, who has tested the limits of the Constitution and the separation of powers. And unlike Judge Merrick Garland, who was considered by almost all independent judicial scholars as mainstream, Judge Gorsuch does not enjoy a similar evaluation. “There is no equivalency between the nomination of Judge Garland, who received the ultimate partisan filibuster from Republicans by not even receiving a hearing or a vote, and Judge Gorsuch, who has been placed onto the Supreme Court only after a Senate rules change, causing lasting damage to the future of the Senate."

(Democrat - Connecticut) 04/07/17
“I am deeply disappointed that Justice Gorsuch has been confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court. Our democracy simply cannot afford a Supreme Court Justice who may bring his own political views into the courtroom. Republican Senators forever lowered the bar for Supreme Court nominees just to get him on the Court, and will bear responsibility for his judgments. While I believe this is a setback for people in Connecticut, I’ll keep doing everything I can to protect their rights and help them as they work hard to build better lives for themselves and their families."

(Democrat - Montana) 04/07/17
"I am deeply concerned that folks in the Senate chose to play politics with the U.S. Supreme Court and undermined the consensus needed for this lifetime post. Judge Gorsuch does not share our Montana values because he thinks corporations are people, he has stood between women and their doctors, and he has sided with the government over protecting our civil liberties."

Sen. Franken’s Statement on His Vote against Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court Justice
(Democrat - Minnesota) 04/07/17
"After meeting him, carefully reviewing his record, and questioning him during his confirmation hearing, I voted against confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court because I believe he will put powerful corporate interests over the rights of average Minnesotans. During his time on the Tenth Circuit, Judge Gorsuch went out of his way to consistently rule for corporations over workers, corporations over consumers, and corporations over women's health. "If my Republican colleagues truly believe that a judge's proper role is to call balls and strikes and to decide cases narrowly, they would have confirmed Chief Judge Merrick Garland last year, a consensus-builder with a proven track record. But instead, Republicans engaged in truly unprecedented obstruction to deny Judge Garland a hearing and block his confirmation. "I fear that today's vote on Judge Gorsuch guarantees more of the same: a sharply divided, activist Supreme Court that makes decisions at great cost to consumers, workers, small businesses, and middle class Americans."

Sen. Shaheen Statement on Republican Leadership’s Decision to Change Long-Standing Senate Rules in Order to Confirm Supreme Court Nominee Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 04/06/17
“Judge Gorsuch has an alarming record of putting the interests of large corporations over those of their employees. He also has frequently ruled against women’s reproductive rights and has been extremely evasive on his position on Citizens United, a decision that has dramatically increased the amount of secret money in politics. It’s very disappointing that Republican leadership is changing the rules to approve his nomination and again, resorting to unprecedented tactics to shape the Supreme Court. I’m committed to upholding the Constitution’s instruction to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. Rather than changing this long-standing Senate rule, Republican leadership should urge President Trump to put forward a nominee who has a track record of treating women and workers even handedly in our legal system, and who would be approved with a strong bipartisan vote.”

Sen. Duckworth Statement on Senate Republicans’ Elimination of 60-Vote Standard for Supreme Court Nominees
(Democrat - Illinois) 04/06/17
“In their haste to give President Donald Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans have engaged in an unprecedented abuse of power and unraveled a vital check and balance that ensured Supreme Court Justices are in the mainstream. There’s a good reason the Senate has required nominees to be able to overcome a filibuster and earn the support of members from both parties. It protects our Supreme Court from the passions of political partisanship and from Justices with extreme beliefs. Confirming judges by such a small margin will have far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans and our entire union.”

Sen. Tom Udall Statement on Vote Against Confirming Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Mexico) 04/06/17
"The Senate Majority should have hit pause on Judge Gorsuch's nomination to find a better path forward for the American people. Instead, Republicans jammed through a Supreme Court nominee who failed to win sufficient bipartisan support at a time when our nation is as divided as I've ever seen it. “I have always believed that the filibuster should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances, and I believe this is one of those times for three reasons. First, Judge Gorsuch's record shows a stunning lack of compassion for the people his decisions will affect. He refused to state his positions on deeply important issues, like the rights of working moms, allowing women to make their own health care decisions, LGBTQ rights, and the flood of dark money into our elections. Second, Judge Gorsuch has failed to demonstrate any independence from the president who nominated him. I find that particularly disturbing at a time when President Trump’s campaign is under FBI investigation for its ties to the Russian government. Given the cloud of suspicion hanging over his presidency, I do not believe President Trump should be making lifetime appointments to the highest court in the land until the investigation has concluded and he has answered all of the distressing questions facing his administration. “Third, this was not President Trump’s seat to fill. We cannot forget the unprecedented steps Senate Republicans took to bring us to this point. The Republican Majority shattered Senate tradition for purely partisan reasons, completely denying President Obama’s nominee for this seat, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing and a vote. I proposed a good faith solution to restore legitimacy to the court and fix this injustice. But Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have shown no interest in healing the deeply partisan wound they have inflicted on our institutions and our nation.”

(Democrat - Rhode Island) 04/06/17
After Senate Republicans changed senate rules to clear the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, Senator Reed addressed the events on the senate floor.

(Democrat - Oregon) 04/06/17
“Today, Senate Republicans completed the judicial coup they launched last February. For the first time in our nation’s history, a Supreme Court seat has been stolen. In doing so, they have deeply damaged the integrity of the Senate and the Supreme Court itself. “Let’s be clear: the Republicans already detonated the nuclear option when Majority Leader McConnell announced within hours of Justice Scalia’s death that the Senate majority would refuse to consider any nominee put forward by President Obama. What we saw today was the continued fallout from that nuclear option, and it will only lead our nation further down the path of division and partisanship. “The primary driver of the majority’s decision to steal the Senate seat was to sustain the flow of dark money that is corrupting our elections. The deed is done. McConnell and his team have put a knife into the heart of our ‘We the People’ republic.”

Sen. Cardin Statement on Senate Rules Change for SCOTUS Nominations: “Rather than withdrawing a nominee for a lifetime appointment to our highest court, who failed to reach consensus, the Republicans changed the rules to place partisan goals above the best interest of our country”
(Democrat - Maryland) 04/06/17
“This is a sad day in the Senate, but one the Republicans queued up years ago when blocking President Obama’s lower court judges and then punctuated last year by not even considering the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. Theirs was the ultimate filibuster of a judicial nominee. “A lifetime appointment to the highest court of our nation should have broad, bipartisan support. The 60-vote threshold for the Supreme Court was an important hurdle to force consultation and consensus. It’s why we have the rules we do in the Senate, or at least did until today. I would hope that we will find our way to return to some level of comity in the Senate, as the course we are on is unsustainable and dangerous for our country.”

Sen. Sanders Statement on Republicans' Use of 'Nuclear Option'
(Independent - Vermont) 04/06/17
"I am deeply disappointed that Republicans changed the rules so that they could push through their nominee with fewer than 60 votes. A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be done in a bipartisan way, but unfortunately Mitch McConnell chose to do it in an extremely partisan manner. Further, I am deeply concerned about the role that Judge Gorsuch will play on the Supreme Court. I fear very much that he will be part of an extreme right-wing majority that will attack workers’ rights, women’s rights and environmental protection as well as make our political system less democratic."

Sen. Manchin Statement on Using the Nuclear Option
(Democrat - West Virginia) 04/06/17
“I am deeply disappointed that, later today, many Senators plan to vote for the nuclear option, taking another step toward destroying the Senate. As I said when I voted against the Democrats’ nuclear option in 2013, I firmly believe that the filibuster is vital to protecting the minority’s views and exactly why the Framers of our Constitution made the Senate the ‘cooling saucer.’ ... “Every Republican Senator joined me in opposing the rules change then, but now, they stand united to do exactly what they opposed just 3 years ago."