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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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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. Catherine Cortez Masto on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Nevada) 01/31/17
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said she would wait for the confirmation hearing process to determine whether to support or oppose the nominee. Cortez Masto said she would evaluate the nominee on “individual merits and without bias. That’s what I have been doing and will continue to do.” “Any individual who is nominated to serve on the Supreme Court will be making decisions with broad implications for our safety, our rights and our core values as Americans,” she said, “… and I believe Judge Neil Gorsuch’s views on the issues and his full record deserves to be intensely scrutinized.”

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. 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. 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. Kaine Statement On Nomination Of Judge Neil Gorsuch To Serve On The Supreme Court
(Democrat - Virginia) 01/31/17
“The importance of an appointment to the highest court in the land and the duty of upholding and defending our Constitution demand a higher threshold for confirmation than for any other appointee. The actions of the Trump Administration over the past week raise the stakes to an even higher level. In considering Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and observing his confirmation hearing, I intend to carefully scrutinize his temperament and record, particularly on civil rights and other Constitutional guarantees."

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.”

Sen. Blumenthal: ‘Serious concerns’ about Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Connecticut) 01/31/17
“I have deep, serious concerns about Judge Gorsuch,” Blumenthal said in a statement released minutes after Trump made his Supreme Court announcement Thursday night. “Whatever his credentials are on paper, most important to me are the real-life impacts of his judicial opinions and views. An extreme ideologue on the court will threaten privacy rights, including women’s health care, worker and consumer protections, and public health and safety.” Blumenthal said he “had reached no conclusion” on Gorsuch, but would support a hearing and a vote on the candidacy – a dig at Republicans who refused to consider Judge Merrick Garland, former Presidnet Obama’s pick for that vacancy, created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. However, Blumenthal said, “iI I conclude that Judge Gorsuch is out of the mainstream, then I will pursue every legal tool available to block his nomination.”

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.”

Sen. Manchin Statement on President's Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - West Virginia) 01/31/17
“Senators have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy and, simply put, we have a responsibility to do our jobs as elected officials. Just as I did when Merrick Garland was nominated, I look forward to evaluating Judge Neil Gorsuch’s qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court. I still believe we must evaluate Judge Gorsuch’s record, legal qualifications and judicial philosophy. The Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves. I look forward to meeting with Judge Gorsuch, examining his record, and making a determination of whether to provide my consent. Just as I have all along, I urge my colleagues to put partisan politics aside and allow the vetting process to proceed.”

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. Tom Udall on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - New Mexico) 01/31/17
I‎ will thoroughly review the record of Judge Gorsuch and listen to the people of New Mexico before deciding how I will proceed with considering his nomination and how I will vote.‎ However, I almost always disagreed with Justice Scalia's opinions and politics, and I believe the nation would be better off with a more mainstream, centrist justice in his seat. President Trump received nearly 3 million fewer votes than Secretary Clinton. He does not have a mandate to appoint an ultra-conservative justice to the nation’s highest court. The first 11 days of President Trump's administration have made it chillingly clear how critical it is to have an independent judiciary that will evaluate matters on the facts and precedent, rather than a political agenda, and how fundamental the checks and balances in the Constitution are to our democracy. The Supreme Court will consider many weighty issues, and I will be carefully scrutinizing Judge Gorsuch’s record for how he would rule on workers' rights, laws that keep our air and water clean, and preventing discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation, among other issues. But President Trump has emphasized that he was choosing a nominee who would carry out his intention to reverse Roe v. Wade. So I want to be clear where I stand: Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for over 40 years, and I will fight any effort to reverse the law and take away a woman's right to make her own health care decisions."

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. Booker Statement on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/31/17
"The Senate's duty to advise and consent does not mean being a rubber stamp, and having begun the process of reviewing Judge Gorsuch's extensive judicial record I have very serious concerns about his nomination. "Based on what I have read of his past rulings and statements, I believe that Judge Gorsuch's interpretation of the Constitution falls far outside of the mainstream and I question whether he will put the interests of working families in New Jersey and throughout the country before those of big corporations, or adequately protect the rights of women, minorities, and our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Any Supreme Court nominee must possess a judicial philosophy and track record that promotes the equal rights of all people and shows an understanding of how the Court's decisions impact the lives of everyday Americans -- I will hold Judge Gorsuch and all future nominees to this fundamental standard."

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. 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."

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. 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.”

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. Wyden Statement on Nomination of Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court
(Democrat - Oregon) 01/31/17
“The Gorsuch nomination represents a breathtaking retreat from the notion that Americans have a fundamental right to Constitutional liberties, and harkens back to the days when politicians restricted a people’s rights on a whim,” Wyden said. “His opposition to legal death with dignity as successfully practiced in Oregon is couched in the sort of jurisprudence that justified the horrific oppression of one group after another in our first two centuries. No Senator who believes that individual rights are reserved to the people, and not the government, can support this nomination.”

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. Merkley will object to simple majority vote on Supreme Court nominee
(Democrat - Oregon) 01/29/17
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland and that the vast majority of his caucus will oppose Trump’s nomination. That means Trump's nominee will need 60 votes to be confirmed by the Senate. “This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”... Any senator can object to swift approval of a nominee and require a supermajority. Asked directly whether he would do that, Merkley replied: “I will definitely object to a simple majority” vote.

Sen. Schumer Statement On Meeting With President Trump To Discuss Supreme Court
(Democrat - New York) 01/24/17
“As I’ve said many times, I believe the President should pick a mainstream nominee who could earn bipartisan support for the vacant Supreme Court seat. I reiterated that view in our meeting today, and told him that Senate Democrats would fight any nominee that was outside of the mainstream.”

Sen. Schumer vows opposition to any 'out of the mainstream' Supreme Court pick
(Democrat - New York) 01/22/17
"If the nominee is out of the mainstream, we will do our best to keep the seat open," Schumer, D-New York, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" of the Supreme Court vacancy .... "I'm hopeful that President Trump may nominate someone who is mainstream and could get bipartisan support," Schumer said. "But if they don't, yes, we will fight it tooth and nail, as long as we have to."

Senate Minority Leader Schumer Floor Speech
(Democrat - New York) 01/03/17
"We will hold the President-elect accountable if he doesn’t nominate a mainstream Supreme Court Justice. President Obama nominated a mainstream candidate in Merrick Garland. President-elect Trump should do the same."

Sen. Democratic Leader Schumer on expiration of Merrick Garland nomination
(Democrat - New York) 01/03/17
“What Senate Republicans did to Judge Garland, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution was appalling. Judge Garland is respected on both sides of the aisle,” Mr. Schumer said through a spokesman. “That he did not even get so much as a hearing will be a stain on the legacy of the Republican Senate.”

Sen. Donnelly on Winfield Ong, Myra Selby, and Merrick Garland judicial nominations
(Democrat - Indiana) 12/28/16
“I am disappointed that the Senate does not plan to hold any more votes this year,” Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said. “I strongly supported both Winfield Ong and Myra Selby and pushed the Senate majority to allow them to receive fair and timely consideration. Part of our job as senators is to consider judicial nominations, but ultimately the Republican leadership chose not to hold hearings and votes on many nominees for the lower courts in addition to refusing to consider the nomination of Judge Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”

Sen. Hirono to serve on Judiciary Committee, continue fighting for Hawaii priorities in United States Senate
(Democrat - Hawaii) 12/19/16
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Hirono will defend voting and civil rights, vet the President-elect’s pick for the Supreme Court, and protect immigrant communities and DREAMers.

Sen. Sherrod Brown on nominations
(Democrat - Ohio) 12/04/16
Democrats argue that some of the president-elect’s more controversial Cabinet picks — such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary — demand a thorough public airing. “They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”