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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Heinrich Statement On Vote Against Judge Gorsuch’s Confirmation
(Democrat - New Mexico) 04/06/17
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s extreme and unprecedented move today to change the Senate rules because there were not enough members prepared to support President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee undermines the deliberative nature and tradition of the United States Senate. "I share many of the concerns New Mexicans have about Judge Neil Gorsuch. In particular, I’m concerned about his record of siding with large corporations over the rights of individuals and government action over the rights of citizens, and his boundless deference to executive power.... "Our thorough consideration of Judge Gorsuch stands in stark contrast to how Senate Republicans treated President Obama’s nominee for the very same seat. After the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, in a shockingly transparent political maneuver, Majority Leader McConnell refused to allow fair consideration of Judge Merrick Garland .... "It is irresponsible to move forward with President Trump’s lifetime appointment of a Supreme Court nominee before the multiple congressional and criminal investigations that are tainting the White House are resolved. "Altering the rules of the Senate to force through a nominee to the Supreme Court under these circumstances is indefensible."

SEN. WHITEHOUSE STATEMENT ON REPUBLICANS’ USE OF ‘NUCLEAR OPTION’
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 04/06/17
“The President set the Senate on this unfortunate path when he selected a Supreme Court nominee off a list put together by conservative special-interest front groups, instead of a bipartisan nominee in line with the beliefs of most Americans. There’s no reason why President Trump couldn’t put forth a traditional consensus nominee who could get 60 votes, as President Obama attempted to do in nominating Merrick Garland. But Republicans are so eager to reconstitute the five-vote bloc on the Court that consistently delivered for big business and conservatives, that they changed Senate rules today to force Judge Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court. I hope this will not damage too severely the bipartisan spirit of cooperation that has long been the trademark of the Senate, and that Judge Gorsuch proves to be a truly independent Justice.”

Sen. Bennet Statement on Judge Gorsuch’s Confirmation Vote
(Democrat - Colorado) 04/06/17
"Today's changes to the Senate's rules have done lasting damage to the Supreme Court and our process for approving nominees," Bennet said. "With these changes, justices may now be confirmed with the narrowest partisan majority. Allowing the judiciary to become a pure extension of our partisan politics is precisely the outcome our Founders feared. Moving forward, lifetime appointments to our highest court could become just another political exercise. "We cannot ignore this new reality, and I am forced to consider President Trump's current nominee - and all future nominees - in that context. "I am proud Judge Gorsuch is from Colorado. He is a qualified judge who deserves an up-or-down vote. That is the tradition of the Senate, and it is why I opposed a filibuster before the rule change. "Judge Gorsuch is a very conservative judge and not one that I would have chosen. For the reasons I have said, I had concerns about his approach to the law. Those concerns grow even more significant as we confront the reality that President Trump may have several more opportunities to transform the Court with a partisan majority. "For all these reasons, I will vote no on the nomination."

U.S. SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT NOMINEE GORSUCH
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 04/06/17
“The people of Wisconsin want an impartial and independent Supreme Court justice who will make decisions that protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans – not stand for corporate special interests. I have deep concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s troubling record of ruling against disabled students, including a ruling that was so far out of the mainstream the Supreme Court unanimously overturned it, as well has his rulings against workers and against women’s reproductive health care. I also believe that we must have a Supreme Court justice who will serve as a check on the Executive Branch. Based on his record and the many questions he has chosen to leave unanswered, I don’t have confidence Judge Gorsuch would be that justice and I oppose his confirmation to our highest court.”

SEN. Schatz Statement on Republican Actions to Change Longstanding Senate Rules
(Democrat - Hawaii) 04/06/17
“Today will go down in history as the day Republicans deepened the divides in the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the country. Instead of changing the nominee to reach bipartisan consensus, Republicans chose to change the rules. In doing so, they weakened one of the last bastions of bipartisanship at a time when polarization is at an all-time high. I’m deeply disappointed and concerned by the Republicans’ actions, which were pushed through in a brazen effort to further politicize the Supreme Court. “The Senate rules exist to encourage bipartisanship, deliberation, and compromise. Now that Republicans have successfully put one of those rules on the chopping block, we will have more difficulty achieving those purposes.”

Sen. Hirono Denounces Republican Use of Nuclear Option to Advance Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - Hawaii) 04/06/17
“Today, Senate Republicans destroyed a process that has been in place for years to accomplish their goal of confirming a far-right Supreme Court Justice,” said Senator Hirono. “Last year, they wouldn’t even give President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland a hearing. And today, they changed the rules in order to ram through a nominee who cannot garner even 60 votes to sit on the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch would preserve the 5-4 conservative majority on the Roberts Court that favors corporate interests over individual rights.”

Sen. Van Hollen: Today is a Sad Day in the United States Senate
(Democrat - Maryland) 04/06/17
“Today is a sad day in the United States Senate. I regret that my Republican colleagues did not have the courage of their convictions and failed to stand up to President Trump’s demand to undermine the Senate in order to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who is outside the mainstream. Instead of rising to the challenge and upholding the rules designed to forge bipartisan compromise, Republicans have engaged in a crass power play. I can only hope that they don’t further dismantle Senate procedure to end the protections that force consensus around legislative issues.”

SEN. KAINE STATEMENT ON RULES CHANGE IN RESPONSE TO FAILED CLOTURE VOTE ON GORSUCH NOMINATION
(Democrat - Virginia) 04/06/17
“We have given Judge Gorsuch serious consideration. He’s been granted meetings, hearings, a Committee vote, full floor debate, and a vote from the full Senate, and he fell short of the bipartisan support needed to move forward with final confirmation to the Supreme Court. The President should have put forward a nominee who can garner support from both sides of the aisle. A Supreme Court nominee was subject to the 60-vote threshold because it is such a consequential, lifelong appointment. Senate Republicans’ decision to change the rules because Judge Gorsuch cannot obtain sufficient bipartisan support is the wrong approach for the country.”

[VIDEO] SEN. DURBIN: THE SENATE FACES THE FALLOUT OF REPUBLICANS' UNPRECEDENTED OBSTRUCTION
(Democrat - Illinois) 04/06/17
Senator Durbin condemned the Republican Leader’s break with Senate tradition by using the “nuclear option” to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Bennet Warns of Changing Senate Rules: Urges Colleagues To Avoid Nuclear Option on Judge Gorsuch’s Nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 04/05/17
Bennet has worked with Republican and Democratic colleagues for weeks to avoid the nuclear option. He has said if the Republicans decide to change the Senate rules, it will affect his final vote on the nominee.

Sen. Coons on MSNBC: “This is not a good week for the Senate”
(Democrat - Delaware) 04/05/17
Senator Coons on Judge Gorsuch: "Let's be clear, that effort to change the Senate rules will be taken up by Republicans. When I announced in the Judiciary Committee Monday that I would join my fellow Democrats in voting against cloture, the rest of the sentence was, unless working together, Republicans and Democrats, we can find an agreement to get past this moment. I felt, as did all of my colleagues, that Merrick Garland was the subject of a seven-month long partisan filibuster. That denying Judge Garland, who was nominated by President Obama, even a hearing on the committee, let alone a vote, was the equivalent of a partisan filibuster. I reached out to many of my Republican and Democratic colleagues. I've had a number of meetings and conversations in recent days, trying to see if there was some agreement we could reach to trust each other to move ahead with cloture on Judge Gorsuch and have the next Supreme Court nominee be more of a consensus candidate, where Democrats could have input on who would be nominated. Ultimately, those efforts have been unsuccessful. This is not a good week for the Senate. I am not optimistic here around the long-term path forward. But I have no regrets about opposing Judge Gorsuch. Having really dug into his judicial record, having met with him several times, and having interviewed him over four days of Judiciary Committee hearings."

The Senate Must Avoid the Nuclear Option: If we go down this road, we will undermine the minority’s ability to check this Administration — and all those to follow.
(Democrat - Colorado) 04/05/17
Remarks delivered on the Senate floor on April 4, 2017, regarding Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Wyden: Why I am Voting NO on Gorsuch for the Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - Oregon) 04/05/17
VIDEO: Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) lays out why he is opposing Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch puts corporation and government before individual rights.

SEN. KAINE DELIVERS SENATE FLOOR SPEECH ON NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH
(Democrat - Virginia) 04/05/17
Full transcript

SEN. MERKLEY HOLDS SENATE FLOOR FOR OVER 15 HOURS TO STAND UP AGAINST GORSUCH NOMINATION: Oregon Senator goes to bat for “We the People” values on nation’s highest court, stands against partisan theft of Supreme Court seat
(Democrat - Oregon) 04/05/17
Merkley said of Senate Republicans’ 2016 theft of the Supreme Court seat vacated during President Obama’s term, “For the first time in U.S. history, a seat has been stolen from one president and delivered to another in a court-packing scheme. If that were to succeed, it would set a precedent that will haunt the Court for decades to come.” Merkley went on to explain Gorsuch’s activist history of twisting the law to find in favor of the privileged and powerful, often at the expense of workers, children, women and the disabled. “If the seat hadn’t been stolen and we were simply considering President Trump’s nominee under ordinary circumstances, what would we find?” asked Merkley of Gorsuch. “Well, we would find a far right-wing Justice completely outside of the mainstream. “He [Gorsuch] is a lifelong conservative activist, rewriting the law to make it something that it was never intended to be.”

[VIDEO] SEN. DURBIN JOINS SENATOR MERKLEY IN PROTEST AGAINST THE GORSUCH NOMINATION ON THE SENATE FLOOR
(Democrat - Illinois) 04/05/17
Before sunrise, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin joined his colleague Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on the Senate floor to discuss their opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

On Senate Floor, Leahy Speaks Out Against Gorsuch Nomination & Trump Agenda:
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/05/17
I am concerned that his personal views, and his politics, have permeated through his judicial philosophy – and that is in fact the reason why his nomination is before us today, ... With the Gorsuch nomination, Republicans are proving that they have no interest in playing by the rules; they prefer to break them. The unprecedented obstruction of Chief Judge Merrick Garland will be a permanent stain on this body. Then, days after the 2016 election, Republican leaders threatened to change the rules to get their own nominee through – before we even had a name,” Leahy said. “After disregarding his constitutional obligations for nearly a year, the Republican Leader now tells us we must rubberstamp President Trump’s nominee or he will forever damage the Senate.”

Sen. John McCain wants no nukes [no nuclear option for Supreme Court nominations]
(Republican - Arizona) 04/04/17
“I think it’s a dark day in the history of the United States Senate. It’s going to happen. It’s interesting that Republicans were dead set against it when my former colleague Harry Reid invoked it with the judges. But now it seems to be ‘okay.’ What we should have done is what we did in 2005 and that was a group of us got together, 14 of us, and said look we won’t filibuster except in extraordinary conditions. And now, we are so polarized now, including between the two leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, that there’s no communications anymore. But, look, if you can do this with 51 votes, what do you think the next nominee is going to be like? And then what do you think is going to happen when eventually the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, and that’s going to happen sooner or later. I hope later.”

Sen. Hirono, Senate Democratic Women Take to Senate Floor in Opposition to Judge Gorsuch: On Equal Pay Day, Hirono, Murray, Warren, Duckworth, Harris Lay Out Consequences of Gorsuch’s Confirmation for Women, Working Families
(Democrat - Hawaii) 04/04/17
“As we mark Equal Pay Day, I am well aware of the tremendous impact a single justice can have on the lives and right of millions of Americans. Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court has issued numerous 5-4 decisions which have favored corporate interests over the rights of individuals. Cases like Shelby County. Like Citizens United, Like Hobby Lobby. “One of the most deeply flawed of these 5-4 decisions was in a 2007 case called Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. That decision had the effect of denying justice to a woman who had suffered pay discrimination for more than a decade. The court said, in effect, that because Lilly Ledbetter didn’t learn of the pay discrimination until it was too late, our justice system could not help her. “Clearly, the composition of the Court and identity of the 5th Justice matters a great deal in the real world. The real world of 5-4 decisions. Yet, during his hearing Judge Gorsuch refused to even acknowledge the role that judicial philosophy plays in the role of a justice. And he downplayed the impact the law could have on people’s lives, repeatedly saying he merely applied the law.”

Sen. Warren Floor Statement on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 04/04/17
S2197-2198: “I think it is crazy that we are considering confirming a lifetime Trump nominee to the Supreme Court at a moment when the President’s campaign is under the cloud of an active, ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation that could result in indictments and appeals, that will go all the way to the Supreme Court, so that Trump’s nominee could be the deciding vote on whether Trump or his supporters broke the law and will be held accountable. …. Time after time, in case after case, Judge Gorsuch showed a remarkable talent for creatively interpreting the law in ways that benefited large corporations and that harmed working Americans, women, children, and consumers. …. …[R]ightwing groups and their wealthy, anonymous funders picked [Judge Gorsuch] for one reason: because they know he will be their ally.”

Sen. Duckworth Participates in “Women’s Power Hour” in Opposition to Judge Gorsuch’s Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 04/04/17
"Judge Gorsuch has not provided some of the most essential information needed to grant him a lifetime appointment. Therefore, I’m voting no on his nomination and supporting continued debate on the subject because I can’t vote for a nominee when so many questions are left unanswered.”