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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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

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

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

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

(Democrat - Virginia) 04/05/17
Full transcript

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

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

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

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

Sen. 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."

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

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.”

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."

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. 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....

[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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”

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.

(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. 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"