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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen. Franken’s Statement on Meeting with Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch: Senator Says He is Skeptical of Judge Neil Gorsuch, Says Meeting Did Nothing to Convince Him Otherwise
(Democrat - Minnesota) 03/07/17
Sen. Franken released the following statement on Tuesday after meeting this afternoon with Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the highest court in the land. “As a member of the Judiciary Committee, my responsibility is to provide advice and consent for nominees to the Supreme Court. So earlier this year, when the White House asked what I wanted to see in their candidate for the Court, I said I wanted a mainstream consensus builder like Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee that Republicans shamefully refused to even take up. I am skeptical that Judge Neil Gorsuch could be that kind of consensus candidate, and our meeting did little to convince me otherwise. As a judge, he’s often ruled in favor of big corporations over workers and consumers, and against women’s health, including access to birth control. I’m going to continue studying his record thoroughly, of course, because I also plan to ask him tough questions during the Judiciary Committee hearings. The American people deserve to see his record and judicial philosophy on full display, so that they can decide for themselves whether he is the right person for this very serious job.”

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

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

Sen. Blumenthal Calls for Transparency From Conservative Organizations That Identified Nominees To Meet Trump's Supreme Court Litmus Test
(Democrat - Connecticut) 03/06/17
“The wholesale outsourcing of nominee selection to interest groups is without known precedent, especially for a position as important as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” Blumenthal wrote. “Because of the role you appear to have played in the vetting and selection of Judge Gorsuch, it is imperative that the Committee better understand the nature and content of the communications you had with the nominee, the campaign, the transition team, and the administration.”

Sen. Feinstein Requests Additional Information Related to Gorsuch Nomination
(Democrat - California) 02/28/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent four letters this month requesting documents and additional information on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Coons on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/28/17
On Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: “I’ve got a lot of homework to do. I look forward to digging into his judicial record, and then we’re going to have confirmation hearings, probably about I think three weeks from now.”

Sen. Heitkamp on Gorsuch Supreme Court nominatoin
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/28/17
She's maintained that she will make the best decision for North Dakota and on Tuesday, she told us that she's reserving that judgment. "I intend to do my job, which is the due diligence that we should all do with a lifetime appointment and that involves actually watching the confirmation hearings," said Heitkamp. Heitkamp says that she did like a lot of what she heard from Gorsuch when they met. She says Gorsuch, who is from Colorado, understands many of the issues facing people in this part of the country.

Statement from Senator Hassan Following Her Meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/27/17
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch and to discuss the importance of a strong and independent judiciary. In our conversation, I highlighted the critical role the judicial branch plays in protecting the civil rights of all Americans, including a woman's constitutionally protected right to make her own health decisions. I also emphasized the importance of ensuring equality for LGBTQ individuals, as well as my concerns with the influence of unlimited corporate and dark money in American politics. I will continue to thoroughly vet Judge Gorsuch's record and views throughout the hearing process.”