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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Stabenow on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 01/31/17
"I mean, first of all, let`s start with the fact that all of President Obama`s Supreme Court nominees were voted in with over 60 votes. And so from my standpoint we need to have a 60-vote threshold just to make sure the person is mainstream. This is the highest court in the land. It affects every man, woman, child, working people, every community that I represent, every family in Michigan. So I want to see a 60-vote threshold, because I think that`s what it deserves. When we change the rules, or had to change the rules in order to make sure the president actually got his cabinet, because of all of the obstruction going on, we purposefully did not change the threshold for the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, because this is the place where people need to come together, you need to have a mainstream pick, this is about somebody who is going to uphold the constitution and not be ideologically extreme one way or the other. And you do that with 60 votes. So that`s where I`m coming from. I have great concerns about this nominee. I`ll listen. I`ll meet with him. The cases I`ve seen that he has ruled on I`m very concerned about, but I think the biggest thing is that it needs to be a coming together. And you do that with 60 votes."

Sen. Carper on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Delaware) 01/31/17
"Given President Trump’s actions in defiance of our Constitution and our values during these early moments of his administration, I will also insist that Judge Gorsuch meet and exceed the highest bar before being approved by the United States Senate," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. "My Democratic colleagues will insist on a fair, open and transparent process, and I implore my Republican colleagues to remember that minority rights must be preserved to prevent further politicization of the judiciary."

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."

Sen. Reed Statement on Supreme Court Nomination of Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. It is a crucial check on the power of both the executive and legislative branches. “Senate Republicans did a great disservice to the nation, and this nominee, when they took the unprecedented and extreme step of blocking President Obama’s moderate Supreme Court nominee for nearly a year. As a result, many Americans question this nomination. “Judge Gorsuch’s record in the lower court suggests he could impose significant new constraints on civil liberties, women’s rights and workers’ rights, and roll back consumer protections and clean air laws. I am concerned that Judge Gorsuch has a tendency to favor the interests of big corporations and special interests over every day Americans. “The American people deserve an opportunity to learn more about this nominee and whether he is committed to upholding their rights. “As I stated when Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama: There is plenty of room for tough questions and respectful debate in this process. “All of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees cleared a sixty vote threshold and President Trump’s nominee should adhere to the same standard.”

Sen. Menendez Statement on Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/31/17
“Just as the President has the right to put forth a nominee of his choosing to fill this vacancy on the Supreme Court, the Senate has the Constitutional duty to consider his nominee by thoroughly and fairly examining his qualifications and record. “As a member of the United States Senate, I take this Constitutional obligation seriously because the decisions made by the United States Supreme Court affect the lives of every single American. I plan to carefully and closely review Judge Gorsuch’s entire legal career and judicial record, meet with him personally and determine if his interpretation of our Constitution is representative of long-standing American values. He must prove his dedication to fairness, nondiscriminatory justice, the equal protection of all Americans under the law, and the ideals of this country. “Most importantly, as a Supreme Court Justice, Judge Gorsuch must demonstrate he understands that the Supreme Court is the main safeguard of our Constitution and must remain an independent, equal branch of government, and no Justice can be beholden to the interests of any one person or group – including those of the president who appoints him.”

Sen. Cantwell Statement on the Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Washington) 01/31/17
“The American people deserve a Supreme Court justice who will ensure full protection of all their rights, especially the right to privacy. There is too much at stake – from women’s choice and immigration reform to LGBTQ rights and marriage equality to voting rights and campaign finance reform. I have concerns about Judge Gorsuch's record on a number of important issues. We need a justice who will help move our country forward, not backwards, as part of a Court that recognizes settled law." “I take my responsibility to provide advice and consent very seriously. I will review Judge Gorsuch’s record thoroughly, follow his nomination hearings closely, and I plan to meet with him to ask my own questions. I will be weighing these considerations along with the comments of my constituents as I consider this nomination.”

Sen. Durbin on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 01/31/17
“Only 12 days into this administration, we’ve already seen unlawful executive orders blocked by a federal court, and the unprecedented dismissal of an Attorney General for disagreeing with the president. I believe the independence of our judicial system, and especially the Supreme Court, is more critical now than at any time in recent history. That is the context in which I will review this nomination. I will meet with Judge Gorsuch and support a hearing and a vote for him — both of which were denied to an eminently qualified nominee presented by President Obama. The American people need to know what they can expect from this nominee, and that he will protect our fundamental constitutional rights on issues like voting rights, immigration, privacy, and women’s health. In recent years, the court’s decisions have shifted dramatically toward big money corporate interests at the expense of American workers and small businesses — we need a Court that is on the side of Main Street, not Wall Street. This Supreme Court seat does not belong to President Trump or to any political party. It belongs to the American people, and I will work to make sure their voices are heard in this debate.”

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. Schatz Statement On Nomination Of Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court
(Democrat - Hawaii) 01/31/17
“Supreme Court nominees should be held to the highest standards, because the Court has the final word on rights that are fundamental to the lives of Americans: our right to privacy, reproductive rights, the right to vote, and equal justice under the law. “I am disappointed the President has nominated someone who does not appear committed to ensuring these rights and who is outside of the legal mainstream. Judge Gorsuch was picked from a list provided to President Trump when he was a candidate. This list was curated by the Heritage Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing a radical agenda of the diminishment of individual and civil rights. “Judge Gorsuch has consistently ruled in favor of corporations over individuals, has undermined women’s rights, and has failed to protect workers from discrimination. I will continue to study his record, and I will pay close attention to his hearing. But this was a missed opportunity to select a mainstream judge who could have garnered bipartisan support.”

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. 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. MERKLEY STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT
(Democrat - Oregon) 01/31/17
“The most fundamental thing that must be understood about tonight’s announcement is that this is a stolen seat. This is the first time in American history that one party has blockaded a nominee for almost a year in order to deliver a seat to a President of their own party. If this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted, it will set a dangerous new precedent in American governance. “This strategy of packing the court, if successful, could threaten fundamental rights in America, including workers’ right to organize, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of ordinary citizens to have their voices heard in elections rather than being drowned out by the corrupting influence of dark money from the richest Americans. “If President Trump were serious about healing the divisions in America and undoing the damage wrought by Senate Republicans last year, he could have named Merrick Garland to fill this seat. Garland is a centrist jurist who is respected on both sides of the aisle. Instead, he doubled down on division by picking an ideological and extreme nominee to satisfy the far right. “This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court.”

Sen. Van Hollen on potential filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 01/31/17
"The American public deserves a thorough vetting. People need to make sure that we have a Supreme Court justice who is in the mainstream and ultimately that's why we have a 60-vote requirement to make sure whoever it is can get that consensus," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said before Trump's nominee was announced. "I'm very worried that the person may not fit that pattern, but we need to wait and see."

Sen. Duckworth on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 01/31/17
“I take seriously my constitutional responsibility as a United States Senator to evaluate Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. over the coming weeks, I will thoroughly assess his rulings and writings on a range of issues, particularly on civil and disability rights. “While I will reserve judgment on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination until his confirmation hearing in order to give my decision the diligence it deserves, I am troubled by his judicial record of undermining the federal government’s ability to protect labor and environmental rights, his hostility toward a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, and by one of his previous ruling that refused to hold law enforcement accountable for excessive force that led to a young man’s death. I am also concerned by several of Judge Gorsuch’s rulings that would deny students with disabilities the right to a quality public education. “It is vital that the Supreme Court serve as an independent, objective check on the president and Congress. Judge Gorsuch must prove he can fulfill that duty.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Nevada) 01/31/17
"I take my responsibility in the Senate as a check and balance on the president's agenda very seriously, and I believe Judge Neil Gorsuch's views on the issues and his full record deserves to be intensely scrutinized."

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. Feinstein on Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - California) 01/31/17
“Evaluating Supreme Court nominees is among our most important responsibilities as senators and over the last few days we’ve seen the importance of an independent judiciary. I’ve repeatedly stated that the next justice must have respect for precedent, be within the mainstream and protect the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Judge Gorsuch has a long record and it will take time to conduct a thorough review. “I firmly believe the Supreme Court must be a fair arbiter of the law—not simply another political body that makes decisions based on ideology or partisanship. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have played politics with this seat by refusing to hold courtesy meetings, hearings or even debate on Chief Judge Garland, who had an impeccable 20-year record of service. “I am deeply concerned that throughout his campaign the president promised to use litmus tests when choosing his nominee. Last October, when asked about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, then-candidate Trump said ‘That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.’ “Then tonight, President Trump declared, ‘I am a man of my word.’ That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. Judge Gorsuch voted twice to deny contraceptive coverage to women, elevating a corporation’s religious beliefs over women’s health care. “At a time when public trust in our institutions is at an all-time low and our country is bitterly divided, a thorough and fair review is vitally important.”

Sen. Hirono Statement on Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Hawaii) 01/31/17
“In his first two weeks as President, Donald Trump has demonstrated minimal tolerance for independent thinking and dissent. I am deeply concerned that his choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be a rubber stamp for the President's radical agenda. We owe it to the American people to vet this nominee extensively and exhaustively. In the weeks and months ahead, I will carefully scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's judicial philosophy, his views on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, his position on voting rights, and his thoughts on the balance between individual rights and corporate power, among other subjects.”

Sen. Casey on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/31/17
“The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Roberts, has moved far outside the mainstream and has too often favored big corporations at the expense of our workers and middle class families. I am concerned that far right groups presented an edict to Donald Trump when he was a candidate, demanding that he select a nominee from their approved list. These same organizations have pushed for legal rulings that rig the system in favor of big corporations and against workers, stacking the deck against everyday Pennsylvanians. “The Supreme Court plays a role of unique importance in our democracy and therefore nominees require substantial scrutiny. I will thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch’s record, particularly his appellate decisions and his answers to questions during the hearing and those submitted in writing afterward.”

Senator Markey Statement in Opposition to Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 01/31/17
“With President Donald Trump issuing executive orders nearly every day that tear at the very fabric of our democracy, this Supreme Court nomination will be one of the most consequential in our nation’s history. In this administration and into the future, the Supreme Court and its new justice will shape the law on issues that impact every American, from the environment, to reproductive rights, to gun violence prevention. “President Trump repeatedly promised that he would use an ideological litmus test to select a nominee who would advance a far-right agenda from the bench. President Trump lived up to his word, and the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch confirms that President Trump wants a Supreme Court Justice who is outside the judicial mainstream. As an Appeals Court judge for more than a decade, Judge Gorsuch has authored or joined opinions that have demonstrated hostility to women’s reproductive rights, commonsense environmental regulations, and the rights of workers, consumers, and the disabled. I will not support the nomination of Judge Gorsuch. “I am also deeply concerned that President Trump has expressed his desire for the Senate to change the rules governing the threshold vote for confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice nominee. I will fight steps to invoke the nuclear option for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination or any efforts that would further erode the foundational pillars of our democratic process.”

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. 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. Manchin on potential filibuster of Trump Supreme Court nominee
(Democrat - West Virginia) 01/31/17
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), ... said Tuesday — before the nominee was named — that he would support the dilatory tactic if he found the nominee to be out of the mainstream. “I’m not filibustering for the sake of person, I won’t do that,” Manchin said. “I will look at their past findings, their past writings, and how they’ve been involved and make my decision. If I’m against that person, I will vote against them for cloture,” he said. “I’m not going to be voting for cloture and then have 51 votes to get somebody in,” he said.

Sen. Shaheen Statement on President Trump's Nomination of Judge Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 01/31/17
“The independence of the Supreme Court is of utmost importance,” said Shaheen. “Judge Gorsuch must demonstrate that he will rule independently of political influence or pressure, and defend the Constitution. I will thoroughly review Gorsuch’s record and his testimony during the nomination process. However, I will not support any candidate who intends to turn back the clock on civil rights, including women’s reproductive rights and LGBT equality.”

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.”

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.”

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Trump Supreme Court Pick
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
“The most important question President Trump’s nominee will face is where he will stand on the special interest politics that has stricken the Court. For years, a gang of five Republican appointees took direction from big right-wing lobbies. Their efforts have corrupted our politics with special-interest ‘dark money’; exacerbated the plague of guns; protected powerful corporations from answering to juries; busted unions; and given Republicans election advantages. Often, the Gang of 5 ignored conservative judicial doctrine to achieve political outcomes benefitting a ‘usual suspects’ list of special interests active before the Court. This has to stop, and Judge Gorsuch must pledge to stop it.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow: I Have 'Great Concerns' About Gorsuch
(Democrat - Nebraska) 01/31/17
Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday night she had "great concerns" about President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch as a justice of the Supreme Court. "This is the place where people need to come together, you need to have a mainstream pick," she told MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes." "This is about somebody who will uphold the Constitution and not be ideologically extreme one way or the other…" "I have great concerns about this nominee," she added. "I'll listen, I'll meet with him. The cases I've seen that he has ruled on I'm very concerned about. But I think the biggest thing is that it needs to be a coming together and you do that with 60 votes."

SEN. SHERROD BROWN ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO GORSUCH; Senator: Supreme Court Must Put Families over Wall St. – Gorsuch Doesn’t Pass that Test
(Democrat - Ohio) 01/31/17
“The people of Ohio deserve Supreme Court Justices who will defend the rights of working families over Wall Street and corporate special interests – and Judge Gorsuch’s record doesn’t pass that test,” Brown said. “I cannot support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people. The Supreme Court has enormous influence over the lives of everyday Ohioans, and any nominee must be willing to defend their rights to make their own healthcare decisions, collectively bargain for safe workplaces and fair pay, and to be protected from discrimination and Wall Street greed.”

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.”