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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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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. Michael Bennet Statement on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Colorado) 01/31/17
"As a fellow Coloradan, Michael congratulates Judge Gorsuch and his family. Michael takes seriously the Senate's responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. He intends to review Judge Gorsuch's record carefully in the coming weeks."

Statement of Sen. Warner on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court
(Democrat - Virginia) 01/31/17
“The American people deserve a Supreme Court comprised of justices who faithfully interpret and uphold the Constitution while serving as an independent and vigilant check on the other branches of government. Though I wish the President had taken the time to review a larger set of judicial candidates than the ones recommended by conservative advocacy organizations, Judge Neil Gorsuch has an impressive résumé and academic background. However, his record must be thoroughly vetted to ensure his views and judicial philosophy are not out of the mainstream. I look forward to carefully reviewing Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications before deciding whether I believe he is fit to serve on our nation’s highest court.”

Senator Murray’s Statement on President Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination
(Democrat - Washington) 01/31/17
“In his first days in office, President Trump has demonstrated a clear disregard for the law, for the Constitution, and for American values. From his abhorrent and un-American ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants, to his firing of an acting Attorney General who stood up and told him the truth—he has made it clear that he doesn’t just think he is above the law, he has at times shown true disdain for it. “With so much chaos in the Administration and so many questions surrounding this President’s commitment to the rule of law and the separation of powers—I have serious concerns about moving forward with a Supreme Court nomination at this time and will be joining with those pushing back against jamming this nominee through or rushing a confirmation in any way. “I am hoping that President Trump pulls back from this chaos and makes it clear that he is truly committed to the rule of law and an independent justice system and judiciary. When and if the time is right, I will evaluate this nominee using the standards I have long used when it comes to Supreme Court nominees—and I would certainly start my process with deep concerns about whether this nominee would be someone who would protect our Constitutional rights and liberties and would respect critical precedents on issues like privacy, workers’ rights, protecting women’s access to health care and upholding Roe v. Wade, and more.”

Sen. Whitehouse Statement on Trump Supreme Court Pick
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
“The most important question President Trump’s nominee will face is where he will stand on the special interest politics that has stricken the Court. For years, a gang of five Republican appointees took direction from big right-wing lobbies. Their efforts have corrupted our politics with special-interest ‘dark money’; exacerbated the plague of guns; protected powerful corporations from answering to juries; busted unions; and given Republicans election advantages. Often, the Gang of 5 ignored conservative judicial doctrine to achieve political outcomes benefitting a ‘usual suspects’ list of special interests active before the Court. This has to stop, and Judge Gorsuch must pledge to stop it.”

Sen. Carper on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Delaware) 01/31/17
"Given President Trump’s actions in defiance of our Constitution and our values during these early moments of his administration, I will also insist that Judge Gorsuch meet and exceed the highest bar before being approved by the United States Senate," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. "My Democratic colleagues will insist on a fair, open and transparent process, and I implore my Republican colleagues to remember that minority rights must be preserved to prevent further politicization of the judiciary."

SEN. SHERROD BROWN ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO GORSUCH; Senator: Supreme Court Must Put Families over Wall St. – Gorsuch Doesn’t Pass that Test
(Democrat - Ohio) 01/31/17
“The people of Ohio deserve Supreme Court Justices who will defend the rights of working families over Wall Street and corporate special interests – and Judge Gorsuch’s record doesn’t pass that test,” Brown said. “I cannot support any nominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people. The Supreme Court has enormous influence over the lives of everyday Ohioans, and any nominee must be willing to defend their rights to make their own healthcare decisions, collectively bargain for safe workplaces and fair pay, and to be protected from discrimination and Wall Street greed.”

Sen. Kamala Harris ‏on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - California) 01/31/17
"I am troubled by the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and will fight to ensure the voice of the American people is heard in this process. The next justice will have a profound impact on money in politics, voting rights, immigrant and women's rights, and more. This SCOTUS seat belongs to the people -- and we need someone who will uphold our civil rights.

Sen. Franken’s Statement on President Trump’s Nomination of Neil Gorsuch for U.S. Supreme Court
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/31/17
"Long before his election, President Trump promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, who held a deeply conservative view of the Constitution and the Court. In the coming weeks, I will be closely examining Neil Gorsuch's background, but I have serious concerns about his judicial philosophy-especially on issues like access to justice, corporate accountability, workers' rights, and women's health. I was hopeful that the President would have selected someone like Merrick Garland, a consensus candidate lauded by the same Republicans who ultimately refused to hold a hearing on him for nearly a year."

Sen. Leahy: Statement On the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court Of The United States
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/31/17
“In light of the unconstitutional actions of our new President in just his first week, the Senate owes the American people a thorough and unsparing examination of this nomination. I had hoped that President Trump would work in a bipartisan way to pick a mainstream nominee like Merrick Garland and bring the country together. Instead, he outsourced this process to far-right interest groups. This is no way to treat a co-equal branch of government, or to protect the independence of our Federal judiciary. “Before Senate Republicans waged the unprecedented blockade of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court last year, the Senate took seriously its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on nominees to the highest court in the land. But Republicans abdicated the Senate’s constitutional role by choosing politically-charged obstruction, so that a president who lost the popular vote could nominate extreme candidates to the Supreme Court. “President Trump said he would appoint justices who would overturn 40 years of jurisprudence established in Roe v. Wade. Judge Gorsuch has shown a willingness to limit women’s access to health care that suggests the President is making good on that promise. At his confirmation hearing in 2006, Judge Gorsuch stated, ‘Precedent is to be respected and honored,’ and he said it is ‘unacceptable’ for a judge to try to impose “his own personal views, his politics, [or] his personal preferences.’ Yet last year he tried to do just that, calling for important precedent to be overturned because it does not align with his personal philosophy. From my initial review of his record, I question whether Judge Gorsuch meets the high standard set by Merrick Garland. And with the ideological litmus test that President Trump has applied in making this selection, the American people are justified to wonder whether Judge Gorsuch can truly be an independent justice. I intend to ask Judge Gorsuch about these and other important issues in the coming months.”

Sen. Warren will oppose Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 01/31/17
"President Trump had the chance to select a consensus nominee to the Supreme Court. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he failed that test. Instead, he carried out his public promise to select a nominee from a list drawn up by far right activist groups that were financed by big business interests. Judge Neil Gorsuch has been on this list for four months. His public record, which I have reviewed in detail, paints a clear picture. Before even joining the bench, he advocated to make it easier for public companies to defraud investors. As a judge, he has twisted himself into a pretzel to make sure the rules favor giant companies over workers and individual Americans. He has sided with employers who deny wages, improperly fire workers, or retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. He has ruled against workers in all manner of discrimination cases. And he has demonstrated hostility toward women’s access to basic health care. For years, powerful interests have executed a full-scale assault on the integrity of our federal judiciary, trying to turn the Supreme Court into one more rigged game that works only for the rich and the powerful. They spent millions to keep this seat open, and Judge Gorsuch is their reward. Every day, our new President finds more ways to demonstrate his hostility for our independent judiciary, our civil society, and the rule of law. Now more than ever, America needs Supreme Court justices with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans – civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and all other protections guaranteed by our laws. We don’t need another justice who spends his time looking out for those with money and influence. Based on the long and well-established record of Judge Gorsuch, I will oppose his nomination."

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.”

Senator Hassan Statement on President Trump’s Nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 01/31/17
"The first week of the Trump administration underscored the need for a strong and independent judiciary that will serve as a check on the executive branch. I will thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch’s record throughout the hearing process so that I – and the American people – can determine whether he would protect the civil rights of all Americans and how he would evaluate the constitutionality of executive orders like President Trump's un-American immigration ban.”

Sen. Whitehouse on Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 01/31/17
"Americans deserve to know where Trump's SCOTUS nominee Judge Gorsuch stands on the special interest politics that has stricken the Court." [Statement follows]

Sen. Schumer Statement on the Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to Serve On the Supreme Court
(Democrat - New York) 01/31/17
"A little more than a week into the Trump presidency, the new Administration has violated our core values, challenged the separation of powers, and tested the very fabric of our Constitution in unprecedented fashion. It is clear that the Supreme Court will be tried in ways that few Courts have been tested since the earliest days of the Republic, when Constitutional questions abounded. Now more than ever, we need a Supreme Court Justice who is independent, eschews ideology, who will preserve our democracy, protect fundamental rights, and will stand up to a President who has already shown a willingness to bend the Constitution. The Senate must insist upon 60-votes for any Supreme Court nominee, a bar that was met by each of President Obama's nominees. The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans. Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch's ability to meet this standard. Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women's rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent Justice on the Court. Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch's fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice."

Sen. Bill Nelson's comment on Trump's Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Florida) 01/31/17
“The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an awesome responsibility that I gladly accept. I will base my decision on a full examination of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators’ questions.”

Sen. Hirono Statement on Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(Democrat - Hawaii) 01/31/17
“In his first two weeks as President, Donald Trump has demonstrated minimal tolerance for independent thinking and dissent. I am deeply concerned that his choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be a rubber stamp for the President's radical agenda. We owe it to the American people to vet this nominee extensively and exhaustively. In the weeks and months ahead, I will carefully scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's judicial philosophy, his views on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, his position on voting rights, and his thoughts on the balance between individual rights and corporate power, among other subjects.”

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.”

Floor Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/29/16
"[F]or the past two years the Republican Party has enjoyed solid majorities in both the House and Senate. They control the schedule and the process. They can decide which legislation to call up for debate, and frankly for all intents and purposes, they can decide whether anything gets done around here. A good example is the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. If he had been treated like other Supreme Court nominees throughout the entire history of this country, he would have received a hearing and a vote and he almost certainly would have been easily confirmed just as he was when he was nominated to the DC Court of Appeals. Instead, the Republican leadership did not even give Judge Garland a hearing, much less a vote. The Republican Senators refused to do their job."