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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen. Kaine: “The Wrongdoing of Others”: Judge Gorsuch and Judicial Activism
(Democrat - Virginia) 03/29/17
Long form piece on Judge Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination

Sen. Carper Statement on Consideration of Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Delaware) 03/29/17
“Over one year ago, Judge Merrick Garland was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Today that seat – what should be Judge Garland’s seat – remains vacant. The unprecedented obstruction my Republican colleagues in the Senate mounted last year against Judge Garland was a shameful chapter for the United States Senate and our Constitution. Judge Garland, a consensus builder and one of the most qualified and respected judges in the country, waited 293 days for a hearing and a vote that ultimately never came. A good man was treated terribly. Meanwhile, Judge Neil Gorsuch has met with Democrats and Republicans in large numbers. A lengthy hearing covering several days was held 48 days after his nomination. Now, Republicans are prepared to speedily bring his nomination to the floor, something they were not prepared to do when they had almost an entire year to consider Judge Garland’s nomination. Ultimately, I believe that moving forward with Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will send a signal that it’s acceptable to put partisan politics over fidelity to our Constitution. It is not. While I do not believe that two wrongs make a right, I believe this may be our only opportunity to right a historic wrong. Therefore, I am left with no other choice but to oppose Judge Gorsuch’s nomination until we find agreement on moving Judge Garland’s nomination forward at the same time.”

(Democrat - Virginia) 03/29/17
Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on his intent to vote against cloture and final confirmation for the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court ...

Sen. Durbin On Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/28/17
"In this context, the Senate cannot simply rubber stamp a lifetime Supreme Court appointment for the president. Neil Gorsuch is the man Donald Trump urgently wants on the Supreme Court. That should give many Americans pause, and it certainly gives pause to me. I cannot support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. I will vote no when his nomination comes before the Judiciary Committee next week, I will vote no on cloture, and I’ll oppose his nomination on the Senate floor.”

Sen. Shaheen to Oppose Judge Gorsuch’s Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 03/28/17
“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony, I cannot support his nomination to serve on the Supreme Court ... he has a very alarming record of putting the interests of large corporations over those of their employees. I was also disheartened by his evasive answers to questions regarding the Citizens United decision, which has dramatically increased the amount of secret money in politics.... As Judge Gorsuch’s nomination comes to the floor, I will support a 60-vote threshold for approval, an appropriate high bar that has been met by seven of the eight current Supreme Court justices.”

Sen. Peters Statement on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Michigan) 03/28/17
"The U.S. Supreme Court is often the last line of defense for everyday Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s previous rulings indicate he believes that corporations have greater rights than individuals. Whether it is ruling against children who want an equal opportunity to get a quality education or women who want access to health care, Judge Gorsuch often fails to take into account the human face behind each case. He has also failed to acknowledge how deeply the Citizens United decision has corrupted our government by opening the floodgates for special interest money to pour into our elections. Serving on the U.S. Supreme Court requires more than education and experience, and I am extremely concerned that Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach is out of step with mainstream American values. After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s comments and his record, I cannot support his nomination to serve on our nation’s highest court.”

Sen. Van Hollen to Oppose Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - Maryland) 03/28/17
After carefully evaluating Neil Gorsuch’s record and his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that he applies a cramped reading of the law and consistently sides with powerful special interests against the rights of individuals, workers, and consumers. When he had an opportunity during the hearings to clarify that bias, he chose instead to evade questions and answered with platitudes, not substance. While he is undoubtedly a skilled lawyer, his bias in favor of corporate power, coupled with his refusal to answer reasonable questions, lead me to conclude that he falls outside the judicial mainstream. The case that the Supreme Court decided in the middle of his hearing illustrates the point: the current Supreme Court Justices unanimously rejected his reasoning against the right of individuals with disabilities to receive an equal education. For all these reasons, I will oppose his nomination. After the Senate’s unprecedented abdication of constitutional responsibility with respect to the Garland nomination, we must begin to restore faith in the Supreme Court. That requires a nominee who is widely viewed to be an impartial administrator of justice – someone who is truly in the mainstream and who can earn the support of at least 60 senators. I will insist that this nominee be held to that standard."

Sen. Murphy: I will vote NO on Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/28/17
"The question is, will Judge Gorsuch continue the activist, pro-corporate, anti-public interest bent of the court, and will he bring his politics into the courtroom, rather than applying the law blindly? I have become convinced, after meeting with Judge Gorsuch and after studying his record, that he will likely become the most extreme member of the Court, continuing the activist, pro-special interest bias on the Court.... I will oppose both cloture, and if necessary, final passage, on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. I trust that if moving this nomination forward does not receive the support of at least 60 Senators, a threshold which the confirmation of every current Supreme Court Justice cleared, President Trump will then nominate someone less extreme, who can garner bipartisan support in the Senate."

Sen. Klobuchar on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination for the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/28/17
"After thorough examination and consideration, I have decided that I will not vote in favor of Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. His judicial record on critical issues including the rights of children with disabilities, campaign finance, and preserving health and safety protections have led me to conclude that I cannot support his nomination."

Sen. Hirono Urges “Loud & Steadfast” Opposition to Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/28/17
On the Senate floor, Senator Mazie K. Hirono called for continued “loud and steadfast” opposition to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to sit on the Supreme Court. Senator Hirono made her case for her “no” vote, citing Judge Gorsuch’s refusal to answer questions about his judicial philosophy

Sen. Cardin Will Vote Against Gorsuch Nomination to Supreme Court
(Democrat - Maryland) 03/28/17
"I am greatly troubled by Judge Gorsuch’s record. His extensive legal record is peppered with examples of putting corporate interests before working Americans, showing hostility to agency decisions that protect our environment, disregard for women’s health, marginalizing students with disabilities and many more troubling decisions. While he said little of substance at his confirmation hearing, Judge Gorsuch’s record shows clearly why he was a choice candidate of the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Despite his protestations, his record points to a jurist who has not separated his political views from his legal views. I do not believe that he would serve as an independent check on this president, who has tested the limits of the Constitution and the separation of powers in a way that no other modern president has done. 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. By recklessly blocking a vote or even a hearing on Merrick Garland, 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. Unlike Judge Garland, who was considered by almost all independent judicial scholars as mainstream, Judge Gorsuch does not enjoy a similar evaluation. For these reasons, I cannot support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.”

Sen. Hassan: Why I Cannot Support Judge Gorsuch’s Nomination for the Supreme Court: Judge Gorsuch Has Consistently Sided with Big Corporations, Showing a Disregard for the Impact His Decisions Have on the Lives of Real Americans
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 03/28/17
"After considering the totality of Judge Gorsuch’s record and judicial philosophy, I have concluded that at this critical moment in our nation’s history, Judge Gorsuch has failed to demonstrate the judicial approach needed in a Supreme Court justice. While Judge Gorsuch is by all accounts a man of great integrity in his personal life, his record demonstrates that he has too often shown a disregard for the impact that his decisions have on the lives of real Americans, consistently putting big corporations before the rights and liberties of hard-working people and families.... I will vote against this nomination, and I support maintaining the traditional 60-vote threshold for confirming Supreme Court nominees."

Senator Stabenow Announces She Will Oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination to Supreme Court
(Democrat - Michigan) 03/28/17
“After reviewing Judge Gorsuch's rulings, it is clear that he has a long record of siding with special interests and institutions instead of hard-working Americans. And, therefore, in my judgment, he does not meet this standard of balance and impartiality,” Stabenow said in a statement. “After carefully reviewing his record and listening to his testimony last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that supporting the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court is not in the best interests of the people of Michigan whom I am proud to represent.” Stabenow noted that Gorsuch, while serving on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, had ruled against Alphonse Maddin, a Michigan truck driver who was fired after leaving his trailer at the roadside when it broke down on a freezing night. “When Mr. Maddin sued, Judge Gorsuch disagreed with six other judges' rulings and reached the conclusion that Mr. Maddin should have risked his life to follow company orders even though Mr. Maddin protected his cargo from loss and completed his assignment,” Stabenow said. She also highlighted a 2008 ruling by Gorsuch against the parent of an autistic boy who sought an education to meet his special needs. During Gorsuch's confirmation hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that disabled students are entitled to more protections than Gorsuch had found to be necessary, Stabenow said. Another case she noted involved a ruling by Gorsuch in favor of “the rights of corporations over the rights of women to have access to health care,” Stabenow said.

Sen. Franken: I Will Vote No on Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/27/17
"Last week, Judge Neil Gorsuch appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to not only explain his record and his judicial philosophy, but to convince the Senate that he would be the right choice for this incredibly important position," said Sen. Franken. "Although I came into the hearings skeptical of Judge Gorsuch, I was willing to listen, ask questions, and to do my job as a member of the Committee. Based on those hearings, I am going to vote no on Judge Gorsuch's nomination. He has an extreme record on everything from corporate accountability and workers' rights to women's health, and I fear that as a Supreme Court justice he will guarantee that the highest court in the land continues to favor powerful interests over the rights of average Americans. I'll say this again: at this moment in our nation's history, we need a Supreme Court justice who has earned a reputation for working to build consensus-someone like Merrick Garland, who, although rightfully nominated by President Obama, was treated disgracefully by Senate Republicans and denied a hearing and a vote. Judge Gorsuch is not a consensus nominee like Merrick Garland and he should not be confirmed. If given a spot on the Court, he will pursue an ideology that I believe has already infected the bench-an ideology that backs big business over individual Americans."

Sen. Bill Nelson will No on cloture and on confirmation of Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Florida) 03/27/17
“Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions. I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation.”