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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


Senator's Party
Senator's State
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(Democrat - Montana) 03/20/17
Senator Jon Tester today issued the following statement on the opening day of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing: "While more out-of-state special interests blanket Montana with TV ads trying to tell us what's best, all Montanans deserve to see for themselves how Judge Gorsuch answers tough questions during a public hearing. I look forward to a fair and honest hearing and I will continue to do my due diligence to learn about where he stands on issues that are important to Montanans."

[VIDEO] Senator Coons delivers opening statement at Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing
(Democrat - Delaware) 03/20/17
"What stands out to me is your tendency to go beyond the issues that need to be resolved in the case before you. I have seen a pattern in which you have filed dissents, dissents from denials of rehearing, concurrences, or even concurrences to your own majority opinions, to explore broader issues than what's necessary, to revisit long-settled precedent, and to promote dramatic changes to the law. This pattern concerns me because these additional writings hint at an unwillingness to settle on a limited conclusion and forge a narrow consensus with your colleagues."

Sen. Feinstein Speaks at Supreme Court Nomination Hearing
(Democrat - California) 03/20/17
"Unfortunately, due to unprecedented treatment, Judge Garland was denied a hearing .... It is the Supreme Court that will have the final word on whether corporations will be able to pollute our air and water with impunity.... Congress relies on agency experts to write the specific rules, regulations, guidelines and procedures necessary to carry out laws we enact. These are what ensure the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to protect our environment from pollution.... Judge Gorsuch’s position, were it to be adopted, would take away agencies’ authorities to address these necessary details.... if we were to dogmatically adhere to “originalist” interpretations, then we would still have segregated schools and bans on interracial marriage. Women wouldn’t be entitled to equal protection under the law. And government discrimination against LGBT Americans would be permitted."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On The Nomination Of Neil Gorsuch To Be An Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/20/17
"Because of the concerns I have about Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy, the process by which he was selected, and the views of the president who nominated him, I hope, Judge, that you will answer my questions, and the questions of all Senators, as clearly as possible."

Sen. Klobuchar Opening Statement at Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing for Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/20/17
"These modern agency decisions include things like rules protecting public safety, requirements against lead-based paint, and clean water protections for our Great Lakes. Last year, in your concurring opinion to a decision that you authored in Gutierrez v. Lynch, you suggested that Chevron should be overturned. Yet this act would have titanic real-world implications on all aspects of our everyday lives. Countless rules could be in jeopardy, protections that matter to the American people would be compromised, and there would be widespread uncertainty about our laws.

Sen. Hirono: Supreme Court Vacancy Is About Future of Our Country
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/20/17
"[Y]ou have gone to great lengths to disagree with your colleagues on the 10th Circuit so that you can explain why some obscure or novel legal interpretation of a particular word in statute must result in finding for a corporation instead of an individual who has suffered real life harm. This tendency demonstrates a commitment to ideology over common sense, and the purpose of the law, and is deeply troubling.... Will the Court protect our land, water, and earth or gut decades of environmental regulations? Will the Court protect access to our justice system or slam the courthouse doors to all but the wealthiest among us?"

Sen. Warren Op-Ed: Neil Gorsuch does not belong on the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 03/20/17
"When Justice Antonin Scalia died last year, giant corporations and their right-wing buddies spent millions of dollars to keep the Supreme Court seat open so that Donald Trump could fill the vacancy. It was only the latest step in their campaign to tilt our courts in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Now, the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is their reward. Anyone who believes in a neutral Supreme Court guided by equal justice for all should oppose this nomination.... There is only one question that should guide us in that decision: whether the nominee will defend equal justice for every single one of us — rich or poor, black or white, female or male, gay or straight, popular or unpopular. Gorsuch’s record shows that he is not that nominee."

(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/20/17
"The question before us is what happens when Republicans gain a five-seat majority on the Supreme Court? I can’t help but notice the long array of 5-4 decisions, with all the Republican appointees lining up to change the law to the benefit of distinct interests: Republicans at the polls, and big business everywhere.... Find me a Founding Father who planned a big role for business corporations in American elections; or one who would have countenanced the steady strangulation of the civil jury, without so much as a mention of the Seventh Amendment."

Sen. Bennet on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 03/16/17
“I’ve not yet made a decision in how I’m going to vote,” he said. “He’s been a judge here for a long time and many many people speak highly.”

Sen. Leahy on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/15/17
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said that “on areas of surveillance and torture, what I’ve seen so far, his views are a lot different than mine.” “When Judge Gorsuch was working for the administration, at least based on the initial things I’ve looked at, he appears to be a cheerleader for President Bush’s views on executive powers,” Leahy said, declining to specify which documents he had seen.

Sen. Tester on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Montana) 03/15/17
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, told CNN he has not made up his mind. "I want to give him time to get through the hearing," Tester said. "I'm going to do what I think is right for the court and the judicial branch. If that means voting for or against him, I'll do one or another when it comes."

Sen. Warren on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 03/15/17
Noting that Senate Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama from replacing Scalia when the justice died a year ago, Warren said "giant corporations and their right-wing buddies" are responsible for Trump's decision to nominate Gorsuch, a "payoff" for their support. In cases involving issues ranging from contraception to consumer rights, "Gorsuch chose corporations," the Massachusetts Democrat said. "We don't need another Supreme Court justice to help out giant corporations. We need a Supreme Court justice who will uphold justice for all."

Sen. Schumer Floor Statement: NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH
(Democrat - New York) 03/15/17
"Judge Gorsuch may act like a studied, neutral judge, but his record suggests he actually has a rightwing, pro-corporate, special interest agenda.... e has far too often sided with the powerful few over everyday Americans trying get a fair shake. He has repeatedly sided with insurance companies that want to deny disability benefits to employees.... On money in politics, the scourge, the poison of our political system--undisclosed dark money--Judge Gorsuch seems to be in the same company as Justices Thomas and Scalia, willing to restrict the most commonsense contribution limits. Judge Gorsuch's record demonstrates he prefers CEOs over citizens, executives over employees, corporations over consumers. Later this morning, I will be meeting with people who have personally experienced the real-life implications of Judge Gorsuch's decisions: Alphonso Maddin from Michigan, a truckdriver who was fired because he left his vehicle when freezing; Patricia Caplinger from Missouri, who sued Medtronic after being injured by a medical device implanted in a non-FDA-approved manner; David Hwang and Katherine Hwang, whose late mother, Proffer Grace Hwang, sued Kansas State University after being fired following a 6-month leave for cancer and requesting to work at home because of a flu epidemic. Their stories illuminate the real-world effects of a judge ... for most Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom want the Court to bring justice to the people who have less power--and the Court is their last resort--there are plenty of principled reasons to vote against Judge Gorsuch."

Sen. Blumenthal on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/15/17
“I will be pressing him and aggressively questioning him on all these issues,” Blumenthal said at a news conference with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., that featured three individuals with compelling stories of Gorsuch’s actions in their lawsuits. “He has an obligation to come clean to the American people.” And if he doesn’t, at least to Blumenthal’s satisfaction? “If he shows he’s out of the mainstream, I will use every tool available — including filibuster — to oppose him.”

Sen. Van Hollen on 60 vote standard for Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 03/15/17
Sen. Chris Van Hollen ... said the nominee would have a chance to respond at his hearing to concerns about his record. “We’ve been really clear that you need to meet the 60-vote standard,” Van Hollen said of fellow Democrats. “As of right now, I think they’re a long way from getting to that number.”

Sen. Blumenthal on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/15/17
Blumenthal criticized Gorsuch for failing to answer clear questions about his views on worker protections, consumer rights, women's healthcare, privacy rights and the independence of the judiciary in meetings with senators. "I will be pressing him and aggressively questioning him on all of these issues because he has an obligation to come clean with the American people before he assumes a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court," he said. "And if he shows in his answers that he is out of the mainstream as his opinions indicate he very well may be, I will use every tool available, including the filibuster, to oppose him."

Sen. Schumer on Gorsuch: Don’t change the rules, change the nominee
(Democrat - New York) 03/15/17
“If a nominee cannot get 60 votes, you don’t change the rules, you change the nominee,” Schumer said, noting that Democrats didn’t change the rules when they were in power “because we knew it was such an important position it ought to get some bipartisan support.” He also claimed “a good number of our Republican colleagues” are against such a change....“Neil Gorsuch may act like an neutral, calm judge, but his record and his career clearly show he harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special-interest agenda,” Schumer said at a press conference Wednesday, alongside Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and people Gorsuch has ruled against on the 10th Circuit. “He enacted [that agenda] time and time again on the 10th Circuit. I have no doubt he’d do it again on the Supreme Court,” Schumer added.... “It’s also another contradiction in President Trump,” he said. “He campaigned and talks about helping average folks. His first nominee to the Supreme Court has an instinctive reaction to side with big special corporate interest over average folks.”

Sen. Feinstein: Gorsuch Documents Incomplete
(Democrat - California) 03/14/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on Judge Neil Gorsuch to provide additional documents in advance of his nomination hearing for the Supreme Court. “With your hearing only six days away, it has come to my attention that your response via the Department of Justice to my letter of February 22 is incomplete and must be supplemented immediately,” Feinstein wrote. Feinstein went on to request additional documents and information in several areas she said were incomplete, including a number of issues related to executive power and national security, such as litigation Judge Gorsuch participated in or may have supervised as a high-ranking official in the Bush Justice Department from 2005 to 2006. “Documents produced by the Justice Department demonstrate you had a leading role in litigation and strategy over executive power and national security matters that have not yet been identified to the Committee,” Feinstein wrote. Full text of the letter follows:

Sen. Leahy: During Sunshine Week, Leahy Calls On Judge Gorsuch To Provide Complete & Truthful Answers To The Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/13/17
“I hope next week, when the president’s Supreme Court nominee will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he provides transparent, truthful answers to Senators’ questions,” Leahy said. “I will insist on real answers from Judge Neil Gorsuch, because there are real concerns about his record and his judicial philosophy.”... “The Supreme Court is one of the least transparent parts of our government, and these hearings are one of the only opportunities for the American people to get a glimpse into the institution that protects their most essential rights,” Leahy said. There are real questions about the kind of Justice that Neil Gorsuch would be, and he needs to answer them openly and honestly, not with the kind of dodges and misrepresentations we have heard from other Trump nominees.”... “Given what we have seen thus far from this administration and its nominees – transparency, accountability, and open government are more important than ever,” he said.

Sen. Blumenthal on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/13/17
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said a central question of the hearings would be whether Judge Gorsuch passes the “Trump litmus test” laid out during the campaign, when Mr. Trump pledged to nominate a judge with traditionally conservative credentials on issues like abortion and gun rights. “It’s a fascinating process because clearly he has strengths in intellect and articulateness that make him an appealing candidate,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “But — and it’s a big ‘but’ — what are his core beliefs?”

Sen. Leahy: Clouds On The Horizon: The Public’s Right To Know Is Under Attack
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/13/17
"Next week the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene for crucial hearings to consider the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court. These hearings are a unique moment when all three branches of government converge as senators consider a presidentially appointed nominee to serve on the highest court in the land. I plan to use these public hearings to ask Judge Gorsuch about vital matters affecting millions of Americans, and about how he will approach those issues if he is confirmed.... Next week, Vermonters and all Americans will be able to tune in to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s public consideration of a Supreme Court nominee. While this same process should have been afforded to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s highly qualified nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, Republicans broke a century of Senate tradition and refused him the opportunity of a public hearing. Now we are faced with a new nominee for the highest court in the land, nominated by a president who has already shown hostility to independent judges who dare to uphold the Constitution, and to journalists so bold as to write the truth. Next week’s hearings mark a time where transparency and a free press can illuminate for the American people exactly what is at stake with this Supreme Court nominee and this presidency. During this Sunshine Week, let us all remember to keep the spotlight shining.

Sen. Schumer on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New York) 03/13/17
“Obviously, the social issues are always looming out there with any justice,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “But where he’s particularly vulnerable is in this antiworker, pro-corporate record. And second, he cannot really cite examples of him being independent other than saying, ‘Ask people.’” ... “There’s a whole pattern,” Mr. Schumer said. “He sort of expresses sympathetic words in many of these cases, but then his decision is coldly — he would say pragmatic, we would say coldly — on the side of the big interests.”

Sen. Klobuchar: In Speech at Center for American Progress, Klobuchar Discusses How Vigorous Antitrust Enforcement Can Strengthen U.S. Economy
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/13/17
"In short, tackling concentrations of power is a linchpin to a healthy economy and democracy. For the last few decades, however, Supreme Court cases—like Trinko, Credit Suisse, Leegin, among others—have raised barriers to the pursuit of antitrust cases. And as Judge Gorsuch is an antitrust expert, it’ll be a good thing to pursue with him next week. Because these are important questions, especially in light of the broad economic implications."

Sen. Casey On Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court:
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 03/12/17
Casey said he's withholding full judgment on Gorsuch, a judge of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, until after his confirmation hearing, now slated to begin on March 20. But based on a meeting and his inspection of Gorsuch's record, Casey said he had "real" and "substantial" concerns about elevating him to the nation's highest court. Gorsuch, Casey said, could take the high court in a "more corporate" direction.

Sen. Sanders on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Independent - Vermont) 03/10/17
"We need to understand where Gorsuch is coming from, make clear the American people understand where he is coming from, then reach a conclusion. I happen to believe that [the campaign finance opinion] Citizens United is one of the worst supreme court decisions in the history of this country, we need to know in general where Gorsuch comes from. I happen to believe that women have the right to control their own bodies, and we have to know where Gorsuch comes from on that issue. I am deeply concerned about Republican efforts to undermine democracy through voter suppression, where is he coming from on that issue? Obviously the supreme court has got to respect workers’ rights and not just rule time and time again on behalf of large corporations. Where is Mr Gorsuch on that? Now I think we know where Judge Gorsuch is on all of that. Our job over the next month or two is to get that information out to the American people. There are reasons to say no. You don’t say, ‘I’m going to vote no before I even know who the candidate is.’ If you want to explain to the American people, the American people want to understand why you are doing it, you explain why I worry about the future of democracy when we have voter suppression and we continue Citizens United. What is Judge Gorsuch’s view on that, I think his view is the wrong view. That’s why you vote. I think it’s more effective to give a rational reason.

Sen. Nelson remains undecided on Gorsuch
(Democrat - Florida) 03/09/17
Sen. Bill Nelson met with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for an hour on Tuesday but remains undecided on whether he can support him. “The two discussed several topics and Nelson expressed his concerns about the suppression of voting rights and the amount of undisclosed, unlimited money in campaigns,” spokesman Ryan Brown said in an email. “Afterward, Nelson said he will continue to review his record before making a decision.”

[Sen. Merkley] Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record
(Democrat - Oregon) 03/07/17
Senator Jeff Merkley said, “Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record is clear. Between employees and employers, he sides with employers. Between caring for disabled workers or a company’s bottom line, he sides with the company. When it comes to the safety of our workers versus a business, or the security of workers’ retirement versus a business, Judge Gorsuch sides with the business. Regular working Americans need a champion on the bench, and they’re not going to get that with Neil Gorsuch.”

Sens. Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record: Senators and advocates outlined his troubling record on worker safety, disability rights, and other issues important to working families
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 03/07/17
Senator Ed Markey said, “Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court Justice who will stand up for the rights of all Americans against big corporate interests, but Judge Neil Gorsuch is not that Justice. On the bench, Neil Gorsuch has repeatedly advanced an ultra-conservative agenda that sides with corporations and special interests over workers and the disabled. Judge Gorsuch believes that private corporations are people with rights that supersede those of individual Americans. We cannot let Judge Neil Gorsuch become the crucial ninth vote on this Supreme Court.”

Sen. Franken skeptical of Gorsuch nomination after meeting
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/07/17
Franken, who serves on the committee, told reporters after the meeting that he was not satisfied with many of the answers he got from Gorsuch, particularly on "corporate" rulings made by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts over the past 12 years and on the nomination of Merrick Garland last year. "I do have my doubts about whether he won't be another fifth vote for an activist, pro-corporate court like we've seen with the Roberts Court," Franken said. "I have some skepticism ... I do believe this court, under [John] Roberts, I don't think they've called balls and strikes. I think they've changed the strike zone." He revealed that Gorsuch was not "familiar" with the "Biden rule," which the Republicans used as a reasoning for not bringing Garland's nomination up for a hearing or a vote last year.... "That was an area where I didn't really get a satisfactory answer. I asked him about the so-called 'Biden rule' that's been completely ... misrepresented by my colleagues," Franken said. "He said he wasn't familiar with it, and he says he's a great admirer of Merrick Garland." The Minnesota Democrat said that Gorsuch answered many of his questions in "judge speak" and deflected with many of his answers.

[Sen. Murray] Markey, Murray, Merkley, Advocates Raise Serious Concerns About SCOTUS Nominee Judge Gorsuch’s Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Record
(Democrat - Washington) 03/07/17
Senator Patty Murray said, “On the campaign trail, President Trump made a promise to stand up for workers—and he’s breaking that promise by nominating a judge with such a distinctly anti-worker record. Time after time, Judge Gorsuch sided with employers and against workers even in dire circumstances, and I am very concerned that should he end up on the Court, he would side with conservative justices in continuing to undermine workers’ protections, safety, and ability to organize.”