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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Leahy on filibuster and Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/27/17
"Unless #JudgeGorsuch provides REAL answers to written Qs & senators have ample time for review & debate, he WILL be filibustered"

Sen. Hirono to Oppose Nomination of Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/27/17
“The real focus and the real heart of this decision lies in the struggles that working families, women, differently-abled, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, students, seniors, and our native peoples face every day,” Senator Hirono said. “These are the everyday Americans who will be impacted by the decisions a Justice Gorsuch would make. The central question for me in looking at Judge Gorsuch and his record, in listening carefully through three days of hearings is whether he would be a Justice for all, or only a Justice for some. I do not believe Judge Gorsuch meets this test. I will oppose his nomination, and I will oppose it every step of the way. I urge my colleagues to do the same. This is simply too important for the future of America and its values.”

Sen. Franken will vote No on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/26/17
"I will be voting no on Judge Neil Gorsuch because I fear he'd be a part of a U.S. Supreme Court that would put the interests of large corporations before Minnesotans and all Americans."

Sen. Heitkamp discusses Gorsuch & filibuster with ND Editorial Bd
(Democrat - North Dakota) 03/24/17
Heitkamp also signaled some openness to Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who testified before lawmakers this week. Heitkamp said in a Thursday statement that she is still reviewing his nomination. Asked about Gorsuch on Friday, Heitkamp praised his familiarity with tribal sovereignty and public land issues, and pointed out his willingness to curb federal agencies' discretion interpreting the law. Despite some Democrats' indication that they might be willing to filibuster Gorsuch's confirmation, Heitkamp pointed out that a vote to end a filibuster and to confirm Gorsuch are two separate things. The political will among Democrats might not be strong enough to keep a filibuster in place, she said, even if it might be strong enough to keep support for Gorsuch to less than the necessary 60 votes.

Sen. Tom Udall to Oppose Gorsuch's Nomination to Serve on the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Mexico) 03/24/17
"I have met with Judge Gorsuch, followed the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and studied his record, and I have decided that I can't support his confirmation. ... e not only failed to answer questions that are critical for me -- his position on the rights of working mothers, whether women can choose their own health care decisions, LGBTQ rights, and dark money in our elections, to name a few - but he failed to convince me that he would be an independent voice on the Court.... Every recent Supreme Court nominee has received at least 60 votes either for cloture or confirmation. Judge Gorsuch will be subject to the same test, and therefore, I will vote no on his confirmation, including cloture. Republican leadership obstructed President Obama's nominee for this seat in an unprecedented fashion. Then President Trump won the election while losing the popular vote. In light of these factors, the president and Republican leadership should negotiate with Democrats on a fair path forward rather than rushing the confirmation process for Judge Gorsuch. I believe Judge Garland could have won 60 votes had he been allowed to make his case before the Senate. And I still hope that there's a way to ensure he is seated."

Sen. Patty Murray will oppose Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court and filibuster him if necessary.
(Democrat - Washington) 03/24/17
“Senate Republicans refused to do their job and refused to hold a single hearing. Second, since taking office two months ago, President Trump has demonstrated complete disregard for law, the U.S. Constitution, and the best interests of American families. He continues to try and force through an un-American, unconstitutional ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants, and he fired an acting attorney general when she refused to compromise her legal judgment in order to conform to his demands. That chaos, coupled with the cloud of an FBI investigation into the president and his associates, has led me to the conclusion that I cannot trust that President Trump is acting in the best interest of our country or our democracy and that I cannot support moving forward with his choice for the Court. I would certainly hope that Republicans don’t change the rules to break the long and important precedent of demanding a 60-vote threshold for lifetime appointments to the highest court in the land. If a nominee can’t get 60 votes, you shouldn’t change the rules, you should change the nominee,”

Sen. Reed to Vote No on Judge Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/24/17
“I will not support Judge Gorsuch for the highest court in the land. After carefully examining his judicial record and listening to his testimony, I believe he is a poor choice for the United States Supreme Court.... The Founders’ original intent was never for corporations to become more powerful than citizens. Under a Justice Gorsuch, companies could increase their influence over our elections. Judge Gorsuch has a propensity for ruling against workers in labor and employment disputes. In the so-called “frozen trucker case,” he twisted a statute to insist that a trucker stranded in sub-zero conditions should have been fired for seeking safety. ... Many of Judge Gorsuch’s legal decisions are based on an overly narrow view of our laws. Indeed, during his hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected his legal theory that would have gutted the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“IDEA”). ... During his hearing, and in our meeting, he repeatedly declined to answer even basic questions. ... Judge Gorsuch has a not-so-hidden agenda. His record as a judge shows he repeatedly used concurring and dissenting opinions to go well beyond the facts of a case to make broad, ideological statements.... I will vote no on cloture and no on his nomination.”

Sen. Whitehouse says he will not vote to confirm Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/24/17
Sen.feels he "gave Judge Gorsuch every chance" during the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, "and indeed pressed him and pressed him on the issues I think are the dominant ones and I came away dissatisfied ... [and] am not in a position to vote for his confirmation." Whitehouse cited his concern with reinstating a Republican-appointee majority on the court that, when the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was alive, "issued so many partisan 5-to-4 decisions ... whose results really became so disheartenly predictable. And the second was some sense that the flood of money into politics after Citizens United has had an evil effect on our democracy." "I wanted at least some signal or sense from him that he saw these as legitimate public concerns. I am not sure I needed him to go as far as fully agreeing with me, but I really couldn't get anything out from behind his screen of platitudes,"

Manchin cautions on Gorsuch filibuster
(Democrat - West Virginia) 03/23/17
“That’s not what the Founding Fathers decided for this body. This body’s a very unique body, a very deliberate body, supposed to be the teapot cooling the tea off,” Manchin said.... for Manchin, who said he’s “not a big filibuster guy to begin with,” Gorsuch should get an up-or-down vote unless a lawmakers has an actual, strong concern about him. “How do you preserve the Senate? How do you preserve the input that the minority should have? Because what goes around comes around,” he said.... for Manchin, who said he’s “not a big filibuster guy to begin with,” Gorsuch should get an up-or-down vote unless a lawmakers has an actual, strong concern about him. “How do you preserve the Senate? How do you preserve the input that the minority should have? Because what goes around comes around,” he said.Manchin said Democrats should be concerned with whether he’s too far right or center-right. “Well, he’s replacing Antonin Scalia, who is very, very conservative. So you can look at it evaluate it — well, is he more nontraditional or more conservative than Antonin Scalia? If he fits in the same wheelhouse, then you can [look at the] justice saying, ‘That kind of fits the same parameter as who he’s replacing.’” Couric suggested that “given that parameter,” it sounded as though Manchin planned to vote “yes” on Gorsuch. “Let’s just say I’m a very open-minded person,” he replied.

Sen. Schumer: Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch nomination
(Democrat - New York) 03/23/17
Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, faced a critical blow on Thursday as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would join with other Democrats in attempting to filibuster the nomination .... “If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes — a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees, and George Bush’s last two nominees — the answer isn’t to change the rules. It’s to change the nominee,” he said.... Schumer said that Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump. He said later that the judge is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology. He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”... Gorsuch “declined to answer question after question after question with any substance. . . . All we have to judge the judge on is his record,” Schumer said.

Sen. Durbin Letter to the Editor: Gorsuch showed his true values with his ruling on the 'frozen trucker' case
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/23/17
"Maddin’s position was ruled on by seven different administrative and court judges. All but one judge ruled against the trucking company. That one judge was Gorsuch.... he 10th Circuit majority noted that Judge Gorsuch cherry-picked one dictionary’s definition to favor the company. Other dictionaries, and the law’s purpose of protecting health and safety, favored Maddin.... we can only look at his record in deciding whether he should be given a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land.... Every judge brings values to the court and in close, hard cases those values can tip the balance on the meaning of the law or the facts before the court. Al Maddin was more than just an unlucky truck driver. He was a hardworking American entitled to justice in our courts."

Sen. Casey: The Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 03/23/17
"I ... have serious concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s rigid and restrictive judicial philosophy, manifest in a number of opinions he has written on the 10th Circuit. It is a judicial philosophy that employs the narrowest possible reading of federal law and exercises extreme skepticism, even hostility, toward executive branch agencies.... It is little wonder that corporate special interests on the right placed Judge Gorsuch’s name on a list of litmus-tested judges from which they demanded the President choose his nominee.... the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Roberts, has become an ever more reliable ally to big corporations. ... Judge Gorsuch’s record indicates that he would only exacerbate this problem and further stack the deck against ordinary workers and families.... Judge Gorsuch has a particularly troubling record when it comes to enforcing legal protections for individuals, particularly students, with disabilities. ...he Supreme Court issued a unanimous 8–0 ruling repudiating a previous opinion Judge Gorsuch wrote concerning the rights of a disabled student.... Judge Gorsuch reversed these rulings, going beyond precedent to articulate the narrowest possible interpretation of the federal law .... I do not believe Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach will ensure fairness for workers and families in Pennsylvania.... I will not support his nomination."

Sen. Wyden: Gorsuch’s History on Torture and Secret Law is Disqualifying for Supreme Court: “I will vote ‘No’ on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” Wyden Says
(Democrat - Oregon) 03/23/17
“Given Judge Gorsuch’s history of working to advance the damaging practice of secret law, his record of preferring corporations over individuals and his support of state interference with an individual’s right to make their own decisions about the most personal of issues, I will vote no on his nomination and I will vote to sustain a filibuster.”

Sen. Kamala Harris: Why I cannot support Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - California) 03/23/17
"President Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, certainly has a paper resume that would impress legal scholars. But his rulings repeatedly have failed to achieve justice for all Americans.... The rest of Judge Gorsuch’s record also shows he’s willing to favor corporations over the American people. He believes companies can impose their religious views on employees and deny women birth-control coverage. And he has been hostile toward federal agencies that protect American workers and consumers.... Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued narrow legalisms over real lives. I must do what’s right. I cannot support his nomination."

Sen. Durbin: Gorsuch Lowered The Bar For Rights Of Students With Disabilities: Chief Justice John Roberts Releases Ruling Rebuking Judge Gorsuch During His Hearing
(Democrat - Illinois) 03/22/17
During the hearing, the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice Roberts, unanimously ruled that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ standard for what educational benefit a school is required to provide students with disabilities is inconsistent with the law. ... Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion specifically notes that “[w]hen all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all.” According to the National Education Association’s analysis of 10th Circuit jurisprudence in IDEA cases, Judge Gorsuch established the “merely more than de minimis” standard in a 2008 opinion. “Why in your early decision did you want to lower the bar so low to ‘merely more than de minimus’ as a standard for public education to meet this federal requirement under the law?” asked Durbin. “The difference in this case is about a word. We know that words are important, and they can make a critical difference in a person’s life…The word that you inserted into the Circuit standard, when it came to these cases, was ‘merely.’ I would say most people reading that would say you have pushed the de minimus statute even further down the standard pole.”

Sen. Klobuchar Asks Judge Gorsuch Second Round of Questions
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/22/17
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) had another strong exchange with Judge Gorsuch during the Supreme Court hearing today on a variety of topics, including the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Chevron deference, originalism, and judicial ethics rules.

Senator Coons: Judge Gorsuch is “what I’d call a ‘smiling Scalia’”
(Democrat - Delaware) 03/22/17
"I think it’s important to look past the personality and to really understand his framework and his approach to decision-making, because, if confirmed, he will likely be a Justice for 25-30 years."

Sen. Bennet introduces Neil Gorsuch at Supreme Court nomination hearing
(Democrat - Colorado) 03/21/17
"The Senate’s failure to do its duty with respect to Judge Garland was an embarrassment to this body that will be recorded in history and in the lives of millions of Americans .... I consider Judge Gorsuch as a candidate to fill the Garland seat on the Supreme Court. And out of respect for both Judge Garland and Judge Gorsuch’s service, integrity and commitment to the rule of law, I suggest we fulfill our responsibility to this nominee and to the country by considering his nomination in the manner his predecessor deserved, but was denied.... there’s a second cloud that hangs over this confirmation hearing. It is President Trump’s reckless attacks on the judiciary.... I believe Judge Gorsuch is unquestionably committed the rule of law. Mr. Chairman, it is customary for senators to introduce nominees from their home state, and I’m not here today to take a position or persuade any of our colleagues how to vote.... I am keeping an open mind about this nomination and expect this week’s hearings will shed light on Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach and views of the law."

Sen. Hirono Grills Gorsuch Over His Refusal to Answer Direct Questions: Presses Supreme Court Nominee on Workers’ Rights, Trump Administration Actions, Citizens United & Hobby Lobby Decisions
(Democrat - Hawaii) 03/21/17
“We’ve sat here for close to 10 hours now and you have not told us your understanding of cases already decided by the Supreme Court except to say they are law and precedent. You have not told us your view of cases currently before the court. And you will not tell us your view on issues that might someday be presented to the Court,” Senator Hirono said. “In fact, you have provided us less in the way of answers about how you would approach cases than previous nominees to the Supreme Court. So how should we divine what you would bring to the Supreme Court in terms of your judicial philosophy? By looking at your judicial record? By looking at your writings? I see a pattern that is very much on par with the Roberts Court’s steady march towards protecting corporate interests over individual rights.”

SEN. WHITEHOUSE PRESSES GORSUCH ON DARK MONEY: Asks Gorsuch to call on his dark-money supporters to reveal themselves
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 03/21/17
Whitehouse pushed back against Gorsuch for his refusal to provide substantive answers to any questions from the Committee. “That just doesn’t do, Judge Gorsuch,” Whitehouse replied. “There are going to be questions that you will be asked to decide on the United States Supreme Court that are going to be dependent on the values you bring to this. I don’t think you can avoid talking about those values here.”

Sen. Franken’s Statement on Start of Judiciary Committee Hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/20/17
"Over the next few days, Judge Neil Gorsuch will explain his record and his judicial philosophy before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look forward to learning about the approach he would take as a Supreme Court justice to really important issues, including women's health and workers' rights. But I will say that I'm skeptical of Judge Gorsuch. I fear that if he's confirmed, he would guarantee that the highest court in the land continues to favor powerful interests over the rights of average Americans. This pivotal moment in our nation's history calls for a nominee 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. Judge Gorsuch's record suggests that he's no Merrick Garland. If confirmed, I'm concerned that he will put forth an ideology that I believe has already infected the bench-an ideology that backs big business over individual Americans and refuses to see our country as the dynamic and diverse nation that my constituents in Minnesota wake up in every morning."

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."

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. 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. 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.