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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Harris Delivers Floor Remarks Against Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - California) 04/04/17
"I ask my colleagues: why does Judge Gorsuch seem to believe that corporations deserve full rights and protections, but women don’t? As we mark Equal Pay Day today, Americans deserve a Supreme Court Justice who will protect the rights of women in the workplace. Judge Gorsuch won’t.... He ignores the complexities of human beings—the humiliating sting of harassment, the fear of a cancer patient or a worker who feels his life’s in danger."

(Democrat - Illinois) 04/04/17
Senator Dick Durbin slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his apparent amnesia in discussing Democrats’ opposition to President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Bennet Statement on Judge Neil Gorsuch's Nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 04/03/17
“Neither Republicans nor Democrats are blameless for where things stand in our politics and on this nomination. But at some point, we need to take the long view and stand up for our institutions. Using the filibuster and nuclear option at this moment takes us in the wrong direction. I have spent the past several weeks trying to avoid this outcome. Changing the Senate rules now will only further politicize the Supreme Court and prevent the Senate from blocking more extreme judges in the future. I will oppose efforts to filibuster the nomination, and strongly encourage my colleagues not to use the nuclear option.”

SEN. WHITEHOUSE VOTES ‘NO’ ON GORSUCH, URGES CONSENSUS SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: ‘Nothing prevents a President from announcing a consensus nominee for the Supreme Court with both Senate leaders standing beside him’
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 04/03/17
“For this nominee to be unable to say, for instance, that dark money is a plague on our democracy is to me disqualifying,” Whitehouse said. “That silence is particularly pungent while the beneficiary of a dark-money campaign for his confirmation. This nominee’s candidacy was born on a list prepared by right-wing, pro-corporate front groups, was announced to this nominee by the leader of one of those groups, and is supported by millions of dollars in dark-money spending. Against that backdrop, his silence on dark money is telling. And the political leader of the Republican Party is preparing to break the rules of the Senate to guide him onto the Court. Please don’t tell me that he is making that effort in the interest of some high judicial philosophy. This is about making sure that people win at the Court who are of a certain type, like CEOs and billionaires.” ... Full text of Whitehouse’s remarks is below....

Sen. Hirono, Senate Judiciary Democrats Vote to Oppose Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 04/03/17
Before the vote, Senator Hirono questioned the low bar set for the President’s Supreme Court nominee: “We cannot and should not evaluate Judge Gorsuch’s nomination based on the low bar President Trump has established for his nominees. Paper credentials are not enough, and we should not give Judge Gorsuch a pass just because he has them. Judge Gorsuch’s nomination is the product of a years-long campaign by extreme right wing organizations to continue to transform the Supreme Court in their image. Judge Gorsuch’s supporters want him on the court to hear a particular case with major ramifications. And they clearly have a very good idea of how this nominee who was selected by the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society would rule. Just as they are confident he meets their litmus tests and the litmus tests of the President who nominated him.”

Sen. Feinstein Opposes Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - California) 04/03/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced her opposition to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court: Senator Feinstein’s full remarks at the Judiciary Committee follow: ...

Sen. Feinstein on Gorsuch: "I cannot support this nomination"
(Democrat - California) 04/03/17
Video: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivers her opening remarks at the Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court justice on April 3, 2017.

Sen. Coons: “I will be voting against cloture unless we are able to…find a way to avoid the 'nuclear option'”
(Democrat - Delaware) 04/03/17
“On Thursday, the full Senate will participate in what’s called a ‘cloture vote.’ It’s one of the Senate’s many long traditions, and though many Americans might not know exactly what it means, it means that we are done debating, that we are ready for the final vote. And almost always a combination of both Democrats and Republicans are required for us to get to cloture. So, on Thursday, we’ll be voting to decide whether we’re ready to finish debating the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch. I am not ready to end debate on this issue, so I will be voting against cloture unless we are able, as a body, to finally sit down and find a way to avoid ‘the nuclear option’ and ensure that the process to fill the next vacancy on the Court is not a narrowly partisan process, but rather an opportunity for both parties to weigh in and ensure we place a judge on the Court who can secure support from members of both parties.”

[VIDEO] Senator Coons opposes the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch in the Senate Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Delaware) 04/03/17
Senator Coons’ remarks, as delivered, are below:...

Sen. Cardin will vote No on cloture on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 04/03/17
"I'm voting no on cloture b/c I don't believe #Gorsuch would be an independent check on @POTUS, who has tested the Constitution like no other"

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nomination Of Neil Gorsuch To Be An Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/03/17
"I have evaluated every nominee on the merits – and I have voted to confirm six Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents. Unlike Committee Republicans’ treatment of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, I take my constitutional duty to independently evaluate a president’s Supreme Court nominees seriously. ... I cannot recall a nominee refusing to answer such basic questions about the principles underlying our Constitution, and about how he interprets those principles.... Judge Gorsuch’s record says a lot about his judgment and his sense of justice. ... I cannot vote solely to protect an institution when the rights of hardworking Americans are at risk. I fear the Senate I would be defending no longer exists. I have often said that the Senate, at its best, can be the conscience of the Nation. I must now vote my conscience, both today and later this week. My conscience will not allow me to ratify the Majority Leader’s actions – not last year and not this year. I will not support advancing this nomination."

(Democrat - Illinois) 04/03/17
During a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) outlined his reasons for opposing President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch

Sen. Menendez Statement on Judge Neil Gorsuch Nomination for Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Jersey) 04/03/17
“In his writings and his career, Judge Neil Gorsuch has shown himself to be far too close to powerful corporations and special interests. I am particularly concerned by his dissent in TransAm Trucking .... He praised one of the main architects of the voter identification laws, which are stripping rights away from African-American and Latino voters. He held that corporations’ religious rights trump a female employee’s right to contraceptive care. ... Based on his record, judicial philosophy, and indirect and evasive answers during the hearings, I cannot support either cloture or final passage on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. The last four judges confirmed to the Supreme Court received more than 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, and there is no reason that Neil Gorsuch shouldn’t be held to the same standard. Instead of changing the rules on lifetime appointments that have made the Senate the greatest deliberative body, we should instead work together in a bipartisan manner to find a nominee who is capable of winning a healthy majority in the U.S. Senate.”

Sen. Warner Statement on the Nomination of Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Virginia) 04/03/17
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) announced today that he intends to vote against cloture and final confirmation for the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, and released the following statement: “Despite his impressive academic credentials, Judge Gorsuch’s record and evasive responses – even refusing to answer questions regarding his views of cases like Roe v. Wade and Citizens United – do not give me confidence that he possesses a judicial philosophy that will serve the American public well. ‎ At the same time, I have grave concerns about any attempt to change Senate rules on confirmation of Supreme Court nominees. These changes would have severe and lasting consequences on our Supreme Court, which I believe should remain above the current hyper-partisan environment rather than being shaped by it. I have hoped that bipartisan efforts would result in a better way forward, instead of Republicans threatening to impose the ‘nuclear’ option. But such a threat is not alone reason enough to support a nominee who has not provided the Senate with sufficient assurances regarding his approach and judicial philosophy. Consequently, I plan to vote against cloture and against his confirmation.”

(Democrat - Montana) 04/02/17
“Judge Gorsuch is a smart man but that doesn’t make him right for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. I cannot support a nominee who refuses to answer important questions. With Judge Gorsuch on the bench, I am deeply concerned that dark money will continue to drown out the voices and votes of citizens, the Court will stand between women and their doctors, and the government will reach into the private lives of law-abiding Americans. These are not Montana values, which is why I cannot support this nomination.” Tester will be voting “no” on cloture and final passage. To read more about Tester’s position on Judge Gorsuch click HERE.

Sen. Donnelly Announces Support for Gorsuch
(Democrat - Indiana) 04/02/17
"After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers. “I was deeply disappointed by the way the most recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Garland, was treated by the Senate, but as Senator, I can only vote on the nominee that comes to the Senate floor. However, I believe that we should keep the current 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.”

Sen. Tester: Why I Cannot Support Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Montana) 04/02/17

Senator Carper Discusses Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: We still have an opportunity to rectify the injustice done to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, and to our Constitution.
(Democrat - Delaware) 03/31/17
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday to urge his colleagues to push pause on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch until the Senate fairly considers the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who waited 293 days and never received a hearing or a vote.

Sen. Claire McCaskill: Gorsuch: Good for Corporations, Bad for Working People
(Democrat - Missouri) 03/31/17
"This is a really difficult decision for me. I am not comfortable with either choice. While I have come to the conclusion that I can’t support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — and will vote no on the procedural vote and his confirmation — I remain very worried about our polarized politics and what the future will bring, since I’m certain we will have a Senate rule change that will usher in more extreme judges in the future. I cannot support Judge Gorsuch because a study of his opinions reveal a rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations. He is evasive, but his body of work isn’t. Whether it is a freezing truck driver or an autistic child, he has shown a stunning lack of humanity. And he has been an activist — for example, writing a dissent on a case that had been settled, in what appears to be an attempt to audition for his current nomination. Then there is Citizen’s United, the single most corrupting force in the history of politics in this nation. I cannot and will not support a nominee that allows dark and dirty anonymous money to continue to flood unchecked into our elections. I reject this nomination because Judge Gorsuch would continue an activist position that states that corporations have the same rights as people."

Sen. Blumenthal Announces Opposition to Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/31/17
"I will vote against the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch as United States Supreme Court justice.... Trump's disrespect for the judiciary was demonstrated by how he selected his nominee....Against this backdrop, Judge Gorsuch has a special obligation to be forthcoming — not to prejudge the merits of a particular future case, but to share his core beliefs on longstanding, well-established legal precedents and demonstrate his commitment to an independent judiciary. Instead he has evaded real answers at every turn.... We know that the man who hired him has said he passes his right-wing litmus test. We know that conservative organizations have spent millions on the prospect that he will move American law dramatically to the right. And we know that he will not answer questions that his predecessors answered about core tenets of American jurisprudence. In short, he has left us with substantial doubt.... That doubt is why I cannot support this nomination, and why I will work to block it using every tool at my disposal."

Sen. Schatz to Oppose Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/31/17
"We need to know if Judge Gorsuch will serve as an independent check on the executive and legislative branches. We need to know if Judge Gorsuch will interpret the law fairly or reliably favor the powerful. And we need to know if he will uphold the right to privacy, the basis for a woman's right to choose. Judge Gorsuch has refused to give the Senate any clarity. "We are left to evaluate his record, which is troubling. In his career at the Justice Department and as a judge, he did not challenge executive overreach. He has expanded the idea that corporations are people, extending an absurd legal doctrine into new territory, enabling corporations to assert religious rights previously assigned only to real people. "I am deeply troubled that, in Judge Gorsuch's view, the religious rights of a corporation outweigh the rights of the women who work for the corporation. "In case after case, Judge Gorsuch consistently sided with corporations over individuals, undermined women’s rights, and failed to protect workers. His refusal to answer questions on long-decided cases or condemn attacks on the judiciary during the hearing demonstrates that he is outside of the legal mainstream. "After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s record and testimony, I have decided that I will not support his confirmation to the Supreme Court, and I will oppose any and all efforts to advance his nomination."

(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/31/17
"I want to give you an update on what I’ve learned about Judge Gorsuch during his confirmation process – and what I haven’t. We began the hearing with a predicament: over the last decade or so, when Republican appointees were a five-justice majority on the Court, a distinct pattern emerged of 5-4 decisions benefiting Republicans at the polls and big corporations pretty much everywhere. ... I wanted to know what he thought about the shadowy dark money group that has spent $17 million to back him and oppose last year’s well-qualified nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. Judge Gorsuch couldn’t answer the question."

Sen. Manchin to Support Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - West Virginia) 03/30/17
"After considering his record, watching his testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and meeting with him twice, I will vote to confirm him to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court."

SENS. WHITEHOUSE, FEINSTEIN, DURBIN, FRANKEN, BLUMENTHAL, HIRONO CALL ON GORSUCH AND DARK MONEY GROUP TO DISCLOSE SECRETIVE BACKERS: In letters sent to SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch and the Judicial Crisis Network today, the Senators ask who has supplied $17 million to boost the Republican appointee
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/30/17
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) wrote to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and the dark money group backing his nomination, the Judicial Crisis Network, calling on them to reveal who has spent $17 million on Gorsuch’s nomination fight. The Senators want answers before Gorsuch’s confirmation vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. “Because the organization is not required to disclose the identities of its donors, the American people have no idea who is so aggressively advocating for your confirmation, or why,” the Senators write in their letter to Gorsuch. “When asked why you thought JCN was willing to spend $17 million ensuring your confirmation over that of exceptionally qualified Judge Garland, you responded that we should ask them. We have now done so.”

Sen. Duckworth to Oppose & Filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/30/17
“When Judge Gorsuch was nominated, I shared my concerns with his predilection for putting corporate profits ahead of people time and again, as well as with his troubling rulings on disability rights, civil rights, reproductive rights and other issues. “Judge Gorsuch had several opportunities to explain himself, his past positions and his judicial philosophy, but he did not. Earning a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court requires much more than a genial demeanor and an ability to artfully dodge even the most pointed of questions. In his four days of confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch did not show any ability to alleviate my concerns. I cannot vote to confirm him. “Despite the President and Republican leadership’s efforts to rush a process they were all too happy to see halted just a few months ago, I take seriously my constitutional responsibility as a United States Senator to offer the President my informed consent. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch has not made the effort to meet with me in person to answer the serious questions I have about his record and he in fact cancelled a meeting we had previously scheduled. I refuse to vote to end debate on a nominee who refuses to provide any answers to my questions.”

Sen. Heitkamp to Vote for U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - North Dakota) 03/30/17
"I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation. He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law. He has unique and critical experience with tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and public lands issues in the west, and has received the endorsement of numerous tribes and major Native American organizations. During our meeting and at his hearing, he reinforced the importance of a judiciary that remains independent of the executive and legislative branches of government – and that acts as a proper check and balance on the other two branches of government. I expect him to follow through on that critical tenet. This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland. Senate Republicans played politics at its worst with an honorable, deeply qualified jurist – arguably the most well qualified nominee in modern history – who had long been supported by Republican and Democratic senators for his unmatched experience. His reward: Republicans refused to give him the fair consideration he deserved – not even a hearing – and his nomination was held open for almost 300 days – by far the longest for a Supreme Court nomination. But I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. There isn’t a perfect judge. Regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics.”

Sen. Cantwell Statement on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Washington) 03/30/17
“While no one expects Judge Gorsuch to reveal how he would rule on particular cases, during his Senate confirmation hearing he did not give Senators enough background about his judicial philosophy.... I am also troubled by Judge Gorsuch’s decision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) case which was recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.... Judge Gorsuch has concluded Chevron vs. NRDC should be overturned.... Overturning this doctrine could make it easier for courts to overturn important agency decisions protecting public health and the environment.... orsuch has also ruled against women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. He has frequently sided with employers over employees and favored corporate interests over public interests.... I cannot support cloture and will not support the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Sen. Cortez Masto Announces Opposition to Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch: Cortez Masto will vote ‘no’ on both cloture and confirmation
(Democrat - Nevada) 03/30/17
"I read his Tenth Circuit opinions and dissents, reviewed his private practice cases, watched his confirmation hearings closely, and requested a one on one meeting with him. Unfortunately, after requesting a meeting with the Judge for several weeks, he has refused to honor this request. The U.S. Constitution has entrusted the Senate with the role of advising the President on the highest court of the land and in refusing to meet with me, he has disrespected our nation’s founding principles and pillars core to our democratic institutions. ... I remain concerned that his narrow view of the law will hurt the most vulnerable amongst us. I am not confident that Judge Gorsuch understands how his decisions will impact workers, immigrants, women’s health and economic security, disabled Americans, and the everyday Nevadans that I am here fighting for. The next justice will make decisions that will have serious reverberations throughout the country for generations to come from a worker’s right to organize to a woman’s right to choose. That is why I believe that a nominee of such importance should gain 60 votes to be confirmed. With so many important issues before the court that will impact millions of everyday Americans and, after reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I cannot support Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.”

Sen. Heinrich Opposes Judge Gorsuch, Says Russia Investigation Must Be Completed Before Lifetime Appointment
(Democrat - New Mexico) 03/29/17
“Given the multiple congressional and criminal investigations that are tainting this Administration, it would not be responsible to move forward with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee until these Russia-related allegations are resolved. We simply cannot process a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land under these circumstances, especially since the court may be called upon to resolve matters related to these investigations. I share many of the concerns New Mexicans have expressed about Judge 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. For these reasons, I intend to oppose his nomination and cannot support advancing the nominee under these circumstances.”