01.31.17

Statement On the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court Of The United States

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy
On the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch
To The Supreme Court Of The United States
January 31, 2017

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.”

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