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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Carper Floor Statement on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination & 60 vote margin
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/02/17
"I think the way Merrick Garland was treated was outrageous, and he was roundly praised by Democrats and Republican, Members of this body, alike. The fact that he never got a vote I think is appalling. It runs against everything I was taught to believe. ... Two wrongs don't make a right. Folks on our side believe--although deeply troubled by the way the last nominee for the last administration was treated--this nominee deserves a hearing. My hope is that he gets one and there is time set aside to prepare for that hearing. My hope is that he will take the time to come and meet with us, particularly those of us who have concerns about his nomination. I think he should be subject to the same 60-vote margin the last several Supreme Court nominees were subjected to and passed; I think in one case it was 62 votes, and in another case, 63 votes."

Sen. Durbin Floor Statement: Nomination of Neil Gorsuch [and 60 vote margin]
(Democrat - Illinois) 02/02/17
[S627] "Even though my Republican colleagues chose to ignore their responsibilities when it came to filling that Supreme Court vacancy in an election year, I know we have a constitutional responsibility to give Judge Gorsuch a hearing and a vote.... He was confirmed to the Tenth Circuit in 2006, but the level of scrutiny is far higher for Supreme Court nominees and lifetime appointments to the High Court. He now has a lengthy judicial record which we will review carefully. There are parts of his record that already raise questions and concerns. In recent years, we have watched the Supreme Court transform into a corporate Court, where all too often cases seem to break for the big corporations, regularly against the little guy. We need a Supreme Court that gives the American people a fair shot against corporate elites, corporate special interests. Judge Gorsuch's record as a judge and advocate raises concerns as to whether he would hasten that trend toward a corporate court.... Judge Gorsuch appears to have a consistent pattern of favoring companies over workers in cases involving employment discrimination, worker safety, and other matters. ... Is he going to bend toward the corporate interests and look the other way as we face climate change, the pollution of streams, the contamination of our drinking water, and dangers to our public health? ... Since the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, Supreme Court Justices have had to show they can pass the threshold of 60 votes to get confirmed. I expect nothing less from this nominee."

Sen. Schumer Floor Statement: NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH [& 60 vote threshold]
(Democrat - New York) 02/02/17
"We in the Senate have a constitutional duty to examine the record of Judge Gorsuch robustly, exhaustively, and comprehensively, and then advise and consent, as we see fit. We have a responsibility to reject if we do not. We Democrats will insist on a rigorous but fair process. Part of that process entails 60 votes for confirmation. Any one Democrat can require it. Many already have. It was a bar met by each of Obama's nominations; each received 60 votes. Most importantly, it is the right thing to do. And I would note that a 60-vote threshold was reached by each of them either in cloture or in the actual vote. On a subject as important as a Supreme Court nomination, bipartisan support is essential and should be a prerequisite. That is what a 60- vote threshold does; 60 votes produces a mainstream candidate. And the need for a mainstream consensus candidate is greater now than ever before because we are in major new territory in two ways. First, because the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Roberts, has shown increasing drift to become a more and more pro-business Court-- siding more and more with corporations, employers, and special interests over working and average Americans--we need a mainstream nominee to help reverse that trend, not accelerate it.... Second, given that this administration--at least at its outset--seems to have less respect for the rule of law than any in recent memory and is testing the very fabric of our Constitution within the first 20 days, there is a special burden on this nominee to be an independent jurist, someone who approaches the Court without ideological blinders, who has a history of operating outside and above politics, and who has the strength of will to stand up to a President who has already shown a willingness to bend the Constitution.... Changing the rules for something as important as the Supreme Court gets rid of the tradition, eliminates the tradition of mainstream nominees who have bipartisan support. It would be so, so wrong to do. I know many of my colleagues on the other side are hesitant to do it, and I hope they will remain strong in that regard."

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. Heinrich on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New Mexico) 02/01/17
“After ignoring Judge Garland’s nomination for purely partisan reasons, Senate Republicans are already talking about changing the Senate rules to confirm Trump's nominee if Democrats don’t simply defer. “Given the current climate in Washington, any nominee to the nation’s highest court must have an unshaken commitment to the rule of law, separation of powers, and the rights enshrined in the Constitution. This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, and Judge Gorsuch must be subjected to the highest level of scrutiny. "New Mexicans have made it clear to me that now more than ever they want an independent judiciary committed to defending the Constitution and the rule of law. I agree and any nomination to the highest court in the land should require more than a simple majority vote to ensure as much."

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. Coons on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination and potential filibuster
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/01/17
Coons told reporters Wednesday morning that he is only in favor of calling for a vote on Gorsuch in the Senate Judiciary Committee and would not commit to supporting a floor vote at this early stage. “I think we’ll get to that,” he said, when asked whether he supports holding a vote on ending an expected Democratic filibuster. “He should get a hearing and vote [in] committee.” Coons said it was “a misunderstanding” to characterize his position as supporting an up-or-down, simple-majority vote on the Senate floor. He said that Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has announced Democrats will require a 60-vote threshold for Gorsuch, something he did not disagree with. “It is a 60-vote threshold vote, that is what it is,” he said. ... “There’s been a lot of back and forth about what a filibuster means for a Supreme Court nomination. Here’s my understanding. It doesn’t mean that we go to the floor and get out the cots and stay there and talk for 26 hours. It is simply a question of whether there is or isn’t a 60-vote threshold,” he said.

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. Tester Statement on Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Montana) 02/01/17
"In the coming weeks, I will be thoroughly reviewing the qualifications of President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch. It's critically important that he has an understanding of the Constitution and is willing to defend it. I look forward to sitting down with Judge Gorsuch, looking him in the eye, asking him tough questions, and finding out if he shares our Montana values."

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. 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."

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.”

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. Kamala Harris ‏on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - California) 01/31/17
"I am troubled by the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and will fight to ensure the voice of the American people is heard in this process. The next justice will have a profound impact on money in politics, voting rights, immigrant and women's rights, and more. This SCOTUS seat belongs to the people -- and we need someone who will uphold our civil rights.

Sen. Whitehouse on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
"Americans deserve to know where Trump's SCOTUS nominee Judge Gorsuch stands on the special interest politics that has stricken the Court." [Statement follows]

Sen. Manchin Statement on President's Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - West Virginia) 01/31/17
“Senators have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy and, simply put, we have a responsibility to do our jobs as elected officials. Just as I did when Merrick Garland was nominated, I look forward to evaluating Judge Neil Gorsuch’s qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court. I still believe we must evaluate Judge Gorsuch’s record, legal qualifications and judicial philosophy. The Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves. I look forward to meeting with Judge Gorsuch, examining his record, and making a determination of whether to provide my consent. Just as I have all along, I urge my colleagues to put partisan politics aside and allow the vetting process to proceed.”

Sen. King Statement on Supreme Court Nomination
(Independent - Maine) 01/31/17
“My approach to considering Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will be consistent with my approach to considering Merrick Garland’s nomination last year: I will listen to the views he expresses before the Senate Judiciary Committee and carefully evaluate his record to understand his judicial philosophy and temperament. At the end of this process, I will make an independent judgment based on whether or not I believe he will interpret the law in accordance with existing statutes and precedent, and most importantly, in accordance with the Constitution.”

Sen. Leahy: Statement On the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court Of The United States
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/31/17
“In light of the unconstitutional actions of our new President in just his first week, the Senate owes the American people a thorough and unsparing examination of this nomination. I had hoped that President Trump would work in a bipartisan way to pick a mainstream nominee like Merrick Garland and bring the country together. Instead, he outsourced this process to far-right interest groups. This is no way to treat a co-equal branch of government, or to protect the independence of our Federal judiciary. “Before Senate Republicans waged the unprecedented blockade of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court last year, the Senate took seriously its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on nominees to the highest court in the land. But Republicans abdicated the Senate’s constitutional role by choosing politically-charged obstruction, so that a president who lost the popular vote could nominate extreme candidates to the Supreme Court. “President Trump said he would appoint justices who would overturn 40 years of jurisprudence established in Roe v. Wade. Judge Gorsuch has shown a willingness to limit women’s access to health care that suggests the President is making good on that promise. At his confirmation hearing in 2006, Judge Gorsuch stated, ‘Precedent is to be respected and honored,’ and he said it is ‘unacceptable’ for a judge to try to impose “his own personal views, his politics, [or] his personal preferences.’ Yet last year he tried to do just that, calling for important precedent to be overturned because it does not align with his personal philosophy. From my initial review of his record, I question whether Judge Gorsuch meets the high standard set by Merrick Garland. And with the ideological litmus test that President Trump has applied in making this selection, the American people are justified to wonder whether Judge Gorsuch can truly be an independent justice. I intend to ask Judge Gorsuch about these and other important issues in the coming months.”

Sen. Schumer Statement on the Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to Serve On the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New York) 01/31/17
"A little more than a week into the Trump presidency, the new Administration has violated our core values, challenged the separation of powers, and tested the very fabric of our Constitution in unprecedented fashion. It is clear that the Supreme Court will be tried in ways that few Courts have been tested since the earliest days of the Republic, when Constitutional questions abounded. Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court Justice who is independent, eschews ideology, who will preserve our democracy, protect fundamental rights, and will stand up to a President who has already shown a willingness to bend the Constitution. The Senate must insist upon 60-votes for any Supreme Court nominee, a bar that was met by each of President Obama's nominees. The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans. Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch's ability to meet this standard. Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women's rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent Justice on the Court. Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch's fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice."

Sen. Bill Nelson's comment on Trump's Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Florida) 01/31/17
“The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an awesome responsibility that I gladly accept. I will base my decision on a full examination of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators’ questions.”

Sen. Michael Bennet Statement on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Colorado) 01/31/17
"As a fellow Coloradan, Michael congratulates Judge Gorsuch and his family. Michael takes seriously the Senate's responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. He intends to review Judge Gorsuch's record carefully in the coming weeks."

Sen. Sanders Statement on Supreme Court Nominee
(Independent - Vermont) 01/31/17
“The Supreme Court plays an enormously important role in American life. Unfortunately, in recent years, that role has been largely negative. I look forward to questioning Judge Gorsuch about his positions on the most important issues that impact Vermonters and all Americans and his views on recent Supreme Court decisions. “In recent years, the disastrous Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates on campaign cash and let corporations and millionaires buy elections. The court tore up the Voting Rights Act and cleared the way for Republican governors and state legislatures to suppress the vote and make it harder for poor people, people of color, young people and senior citizens to vote. This is the court that in a long string of cases was far friendlier to big business than to the needs of workers. This is a court that let Exxon off the hook for $5 billion in fines for a disastrous oil spill in Alaska and stymied efforts to combat global warming. This is a court that has chipped away at a woman's right to control her own body. “The stakes are very high in terms of the next Supreme Court justice. It is imperative that a new justice be prepared to defend the rights of all Americans, not just the wealthy and large corporations. Our next Supreme Court justice must vote to protect American democracy and keep campaigns free of the corrupting influence of big money, treat workers fairly, safeguard liberties for women and minorities, protect religious freedom and safeguard the privacy rights of citizens. “I look forward to hearing Judge Gorsuch’s views on these and other critically important issues.”

Sen. Warren will oppose Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 01/31/17
"President Trump had the chance to select a consensus nominee to the Supreme Court. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he failed that test. Instead, he carried out his public promise to select a nominee from a list drawn up by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests. Judge Neil Gorsuch has been on this list for four months. His public record, which I have reviewed in detail, paints a clear picture. Before even joining the bench, he advocated to make it easier for public companies to defraud investors. As a judge, he has twisted himself into a pretzel to make sure the rules favor giant companies over workers and individual Americans. He has sided with employers who deny wages, improperly fire workers, or retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. He has ruled against workers in all manner of discrimination cases. And he has demonstrated hostility toward women’s access to basic health care. For years, powerful interests have executed a full-scale assault on the integrity of our federal judiciary, trying to turn the Supreme Court into one more rigged game that works only for the rich and the powerful. They spent millions to keep this seat open, and Judge Gorsuch is their reward. Every day, our new President finds more ways to demonstrate his hostility for our independent judiciary, our civil society, and the rule of law. Now more than ever, America needs Supreme Court justices with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and all other protections guaranteed by our laws. We don’t need another justice who spends his time looking out for those with money and influence. Based on the long and well-established record of Judge Gorsuch, I will oppose his nomination."

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."

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. 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.”

Statement of Sen. Warner on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Virginia) 01/31/17
“The American people deserve a Supreme Court comprised of justices who faithfully interpret and uphold the Constitution while serving as an independent and vigilant check on the other branches of government. Though I wish the President had taken the time to review a larger set of judicial candidates than the ones recommended by conservative advocacy organizations, Judge Neil Gorsuch has an impressive résumé and academic background. However, his record must be thoroughly vetted to ensure his views and judicial philosophy are not out of the mainstream. I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications before deciding whether I believe he is fit to serve on our nation’s highest court.”