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tv   Senate Debate on Gorsuch Nomination  CSPAN  April 6, 2017 6:50am-8:23am EDT

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power to avoid it. if the majority leader is willing to cooperate in a bipartisan way, if he's willing to sit down with us in good faith and try to find a way out, he will find an open door and an open mind and maybe -- maybe we can, for the moment, avoid an outcome that no senator from either side wants to see the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i take this time to explain to the people of maryland and our nation my views on judge neil gorsuch to be an associate judge of the supreme court of the united states. madam president, i might tell you there is no more important responsibility that a member of the senate has than the advice and consent of an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. there are many important responsibilities we have. this is one of the most
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important comoonts, and i have taken this on to try to understand as much as i can about judge gorsuch, to understand the dynamics of what his membership of the supreme court would mean because i recognize it's not just an appointment for this term of congress. this is a lifetime appointment and it is very possible that he, if confirmed, will serve on the supreme court for a generation. so his impact on the white house of the supreme court is something that is extremely important to each member of the senate. i think many of us are looking for an associate justice who can bring about more consensus on the supreme court, who can try to deal with some of the great divisions of our nation in a way representing the values of our constitution that will allow our nation to move forward in a united way. we also recognize that the
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senate must give an independent evaluation of a supreme court justice. this is not because a president of your party nominated someone to the supreme court, whether you would support or oppose. it's the independent review process that each senator undertakes to determine whether the nominee should get our support. so what i look at is someone who would be a mainstream jurist who is sensitive to the civil rights of all americans, that would understand the importance of our constitution, which has been a constitution which has expanded rights and not one that we would look at ways to move in the wrong direction on extending constitutional protections. that is, to move backwards rather than forwards. so, madam president, first let
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me start by saying i am troubled by the process that president trump followed in nominating neil gorsuch to the supreme court. during his campaign, he talked about a litmus test for supreme court justices, that they must be pro-life in the mold of justice scalia. the list that was submitted to him and which judge gorsuch was part of was proposed by the heritage foundation and the federalist society. that's not a good way to start a process of bringing in a consensus nominee to the supreme court of the united states. to i -- to my knowledge, there was no consultation with any democrats prior to any nomination being made. the reason why consultation with all members of the senate are
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important is that if you engage in real understanding as to what the senate, which we represent the entire country, is looking for in a supreme court justice, you have a much better chance of ending up hueneme who is going to enjoy broader support, bipartisan support, real bipartisan support in the united states senate, and then the 60-vote threshold does not become a hurdle. there's a reason why we have the rules we do in the senate. and the 60-vote concept on a controversial nominee is so we don't end up with an extreme candidate that would end up being on the supreme court of the united states, that there must be that process that would generate 60 votes. so despite my concern about the process that was initiated by president trump in the
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nomination, i have tried to look at all of the opportunities to understand judge gorsuch's record and his likely actions as a member of the supreme court. i took the time to meet with judge gorsuch and i found that interview, that process to be extremely helpful in understanding his judicial philosophy. i monitored the hearings that took place in the senate judiciary committee, and i found that testimony to be helpful. i reviewed the testimony of experts that have submitted both verbal and written comments in regards to judge gorsuch. and, madam president, i have reviewed his extensive legal record. we do have an extensive legal record that i'm going to comment about that went into my own process in determining whether i could support him or not. i came to the conclusion that i could not support judge gorsuch
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as an associate justice on the supreme court of the united states because he was not a mainstream candidate. to me, i am concerned that he would put corporate interests before individual rights, and to me the strength of our constitution is in the individual. individual rights should be paramount to special interests or corporate interests. i saw in his legal opinions a hostility towards environmental, women's health, marginalized students with disabilities and others, vulnerable type of individuals that have me greatly concerned. i was particularly concerned about whether he could separate his political views from his legal views. madam president, to me, this is an extremely important point. we want our judges on the supreme court -- justices on the supreme court not to be influenced by the politics around us. legislative branch, that's perfectly legitimate for us to
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take into consideration political views. the president of the united states is nominated by a political party. that's understood. but the supreme court, the justices on the supreme court need to leave their political views outside of their responsibilities. and i was deeply troubled after reading the opinions of justice gorsuch and his writings that he would not be able to separate his political views from his legal views, and i was concerned about whether he would truly be an independent check on the presidency. we know that president trump is testing the constitutional reach of his -- of his office. we have seen that in some of the executive orders that he's issued, and i have little confidence by his responses at the hearings that judge gorsuch would be an incident voice towards the president of the united states. so let me cite some examples to
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fill in the blanks on what i am saying. judge gorsuch challenges the chevron deference doctrine. in the gutierrez case, he indicates that judges rather than agencies should be basically administering our laws. the long-standing deference to agencies to interpret our law has been allowed agencies to carry out their mission. without that authority, it's extremely challenging to see how an agency can carry out the missions of laws that we have passed. and judge gorsuch raises questions as to whether that doctrine is still relevant. now, let me make it clear, who benefits from the chevron doctrine? the chevron doctrine has allowed agencies to protect workers' rights, to protect our environment, protect consumers, food safety and the list goes on and on and on. these are our states. we have many examples to show
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how important the chevron deference doctrine has been. in my state of maryland, the chesapeake bay, which is critically important to maryland's economy, critically important to the character of the state that we have in maryland and our future, the protection of the public health of the chesapeake bay is very much -- has very much been advanced by the chevron deference doctrine. judge gorsuch wrote, quote, chevron appears to qualify as a violation of the separation of powers, and then he argued that its primary rationale is no more than a fiction. well, madam president, when you look at what he has said about a fundamental document that's there to protect our environment, protect workers, protect public health versus what justice scalia once explained, and i quote from justice scalia, in the long run, chevron will endure and be given
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its full scope becau public health versus what justice scalia once explained, and i quote from justice scalia. in the long run, chevron app stores will be given full scope because it is more accurately reflects the reality of government, adequately serves its needs. in the gutierrez case, judge gorsuch was showing a more activist conservative agenda than justice scalia. let me turn to citizens united, which we have talked about more than any case in the supreme court on the floor of the united states senate. we know the 5-numfour supreme court decision, the floodgates for dark money allowing corporations to have constitutional rights. in the little case, judge gorsuch announced strict scrutiny standard to political contribution limits. that, quite frankly, would make the citizens united case even
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worse and would got campaign finance law limits. let me move to the trans-american trucking case. here judge gorsuch was in dissent, in the minority, what he basically said, the truck driver had to sacrifice his life in order to protect his job, otherwise he could be fired. what i mean by that, those who might not be totally familiar, truck driver found himself abandoned because the brakes of his trailer were frozen in subzero temperature, and he did not have adequate heat in his cab. he had one of the three choices.
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he could try to maneuver the cab and the trailer with frozen breaks costing himself his life or other people on the road. he could remain as instructed by the dispatcher and perhaps freeze to death, or he could do what i think any reasonable person would do. he disconnected the cab, took care of making sure he was safe, warmed himself up, returned to the trailer to complete the mission. for that he was fired and judge gorsuch said that was acceptable. that is an extreme opinion, madame president, and one which gives us great pause as to how judge gorsuch will act on the supreme court of the united states. let me talk about the community health services where judge gorsuch was again in the dissent. it had to do with back pay for workers and in this opinion he shows real hostility to workers and unions, something that has me greatly concerned with
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another case that received a great deal of publicity as hobby lobby. i raise it for one principal reason. here was the court saying and judge gorsuch agreeing, that the religious protection provided under the constitution is more important for a company to exercise that religious freedom van the employees. one of my principal concerns, for the rights of individuals, whether he will side on behalf of business. in the hobby lobby case, he decided on business to the detriment of women's rights, lgbt communities and others. he showed direct hostility to plant parenthood. this case is hard to understand.
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even though the case has been settled, we don't have to see activist judges. that indicates judge gorsuch will be an activist judge in trying to move his particular political agenda. andrew versus douglas county school district, a case came in during the confirmation hearing process, a severely autistic child, judge gorsuch was responsible for the absurd reading of the minimus benefit to defend against private placement. the supreme court rejected that logic by 8-0 decision, judge roberts writing about the ida law, there are protections for
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disabled students in the school system. judge gorsuch would turn back the progress we made on constitutional protection. as i mentioned earlier, i am concerned about whether judge gorsuch can keep his political views separate from how he actss as a potential justice on the supreme court of the united states. i go to a 20005 "national review" article where he wrote american liberals have become addicted to the courtroom relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders in the ballot box as a primary means of affecting their social agenda. this addiction to the courtroom as a place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the industry. i mentioned that case quote judge gorsuch as we don't want a judge to side with being a
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liberal or conservative. we don't want the judge to say i have a responsibility to promote an agenda as a judge. we don't want a judge to take a political view and bring that to the bench. whether it is a person we agree with politically or disagree with politically, we want an independent judiciary. this "national review" article causes me great concern as to whether judge gorsuch can in fact be the neutral person on the court. judge gorsuch appears to be an activist judge, turning back progress to protect individual constitutional rights, something that gives the greatest concern and the reason i do not support this nominee to be an associate justice of the supreme court. let me turn to process for one moment. it looks like sometime tomorrow,
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on a cloture motion. it is not mainstream, put corporate interests above individual interests, toward environments, women, women's health etc.. he has political views i think he would not be able to differentiate and would not be in independent check and balance in the political system. for all those reasons it seems appropriate to me, and allow them to be confirmed by a partisan vote, but we want to have a more broader consensus and judge gorsuch did not earn the broader consensus, additional considerations here, this goes back a few years, madame president, the republican leadership, what they did to president obama's judicial nomination must be underescort, this is not in vacuum, we did
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not get to this place in vacuum. going back to president obama where his district court nominee was delayed, in some cases totally blocked, requiring a record number of cloture motions to have been filed and acted upon, a record number. we have more cloture, more filibusters of president obama's nominees by republicans than in the entire history of the united states senate. a direct effort by the republican leadership to filibuster judicial nominees. that is wrong. it shouldn't have been done. there are reasons for some but not for the record numbers that were done. you should be able to allow -- quite frankly in 2013, the republican leader told president obama no more district court circuit judges. let me repeat that. in 2013, the first year of the
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president's term, no more -- the republican leader, no more dc circuit judges. we had three vacancies in the dc circuit. eight of the 11 were filled, three were vacant. it had nothing to do with the nominees, they just said they were not going to consider any of the menus the filibuster to block any filling of this position. i am going to quote first from chief judge henry edwards when he talks about the dc circuit. review of a large multi-polity difficult administrative deal, stable judicial work in the dc circuit, long distant wishes the work of the dc circuit from the work of other circuits. it is impossible compared to work in the dc circuit, by simply referring to raw data.
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and the federal government in some capacity. he described the dc circuit's unique character as a court with special responsibility for legal challenges to conduct the conduct of the national government. my point is clear, the second most important court in the land, the first year president obama's term the republicans announced they would filibuster any attempt, any attempt to put any judge on the circuit and then we had the ultimate filibuster by the republicans, that was merrick garland. february 2016, justice scalia's death, the nominee submitted to us by president obama, acknowledged to be mainstream, acknowledged to be well-qualified, acknowledged to be a consensus nominee, and he
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got the ultimate filibuster. the republicans in the senate would meet with him. he didn't have a committee hearing, didn't have a committee vote, didn't have a floor vote. that was the ultimate filibuster. it was wrong. when we know that he would have received 60 votes. you can't compare judge gorsuch with judge garland because unlike judge garland, judge gorsuch does not share the same evaluation of being able to be a consensus, mainstream candidate who would receive a 60 vote threshold. for all these reasons, if the majority leader is going to pursue the cloture vote on the gorsuch nomination, i will not vote in favor of cloture. i would hope that we would be able to return to what is important in the united states
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senate, we recognize there are times you should have a 60 vote threshold, when the president of the united states goes outside the norm and the process is employed by the republicans i urge my colleagues to rethink the course we are on. with that i would yield the floor. >> madame president. >> senator from hawaii. >> when our country was founded, corporations were on the minds of no one. they aren't mentioned in the constitution or the bill of rights and when the topic came up in the supreme court chief justice john marshall called corporations the creature of the law. people have certain inalienable rights. corporations do not. we established corporate personhood so companies could raise capital and enter a
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contract, but nobody ever thought this term that was used, personhood, actually meant corporations were people. they are not. it is not complicated but corporations don't eat, sleep, worry about their children or their elderly parents, they don't get sick, they don't retire, they don't have complex motivations. under the law they only have one motivation, which is to maximize profits. any logical person knows corporations are not people. but in judge gorsuch's america, they are. there is no doubt he is a very smart person but he had a hand in creating the theory that corporations have the same rights as human beings, that they are in fact people. we are supposed to pretend this premise isn't insane. but it is crazy and it is
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hurting our democracy. for the past several decades, we increasingly limited people's rights in favor of corporate rights, now republicans want us to confirm a judge who says corporations have religious rights. judge gorsuch was part of the hobby lobby decision that went before the supreme court in which the 10th circuit decided corporate personhood extend to first amendment religious rights. because the corporation, not just the people who owned it, the corporation itself has been granted those rights by judges like neil gorsuch, the rights of corporations now usurp the health and rights of american citizens was that is the problem with judge gorsuch. not just that he's a conservative but he actually thinks corporate entities have the very same rights as american citizens, they don't come with the same responsibilities we all have as american citizens.
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this judge wants to confirm or rights on corporations and we are already past the tipping point as a society where corporations have more power than people. we are in the absurd position of asking how far our corporate rights going to extend? they have been given first amendment rights, they have been given fourth amendment rights, do they get the right to vote next? do they get the right to keep and bear arms? how many more constitutional rights are we going to give corporations before we say enough is enough? we are beyond the point were corporate interests beat out the individual in the polls or the workplace was there are a lot of other things about judge gorsuch's worldview that i object to but to my core i think i might be able to get around some of those things knowing the constitution requires the senate advise and consent, not agree with. his worldview regarding corporations as people, embodies
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everything going wrong with our country and the court. every nominee we have seen this year embodies this worldview, time and time again democrats in the senate have raised the alarm about this administration's nominees and we have been over. what is the result? cabinet secretaries destroying american diplomacy, secretaries trying to ban muslims from entering the united states, you have an epa administrator, scott pruitt, leading a dangerous product on the market that has been proven by his own scientists to hurt children. why? because they prioritize corporate rights over people's rights. the problem is this. cabinet secretaries come and go. supreme court justices do not. let me put it this way. this administration's cabinet is like a date, a really bad date that at least it comes to an
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end. the supreme court justice, on the other hand, that is not a bad date, that is a marriage, a lifetime appointment that will have an impact on generations of americans, the fact that he is out of the mainstream is absolutely essential for us to consider. the fact that he thinks corporations are people is, in my mind, disqualifying, so disqualifying that i will vote no on cloture and i will vote no on final confirmation if it comes to that. which brings me to the question of cloture. when the senate votes on cloture, the question before the senate is if the defense of the senate, a debate should be brought to a close, is it the sense of a senate debate should be brought to a close for the supreme court nominee, we have, those rules say you need 60 senators to end debate, not 59, not 51, not 57, 59 senators
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don't decide, 60 do. if you can't get 60 votes to end debate you don't have cloture. now after 2013 there is o one position, one appointed position that retains the 60 vote threshold and that is the united states supreme court. that is for straightforward reason, we have decided as a body that the supreme court needs to have bipartisan support. if a person cannot get 60 votes, you change the nominee, you do not change the rules. we decided this position, this institution, the court itself, the highest court in the land should be beyond our partisan disputes and differences. that is the foundation of the united states senate. it is the way this place works. without, the reality will be grim. without this rule, if you are a
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member of the minority party, the president's nominees don't have to listen to you, meet with you, think about you. without this rule, advice and consent is rendered meaningless, for whichever party is out of power, everybody ought to remember, four years, even in my short time, the door swings both ways in washington. today, this week, it might feel satisfying to use power maximally, use the greatest authority possible under the united states constitution but without this rule, the senate is undermined by its own members. i have never seen any legislative body and effort to diminish its own authority and that is what is going to happen this week. we can argue about how we get here, 1987, the senate rejected
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robert bork, in 2013, when leader read responded to historic obstructionism by eliminating most filibusters nominees. last year, when merrick garland was not even given a hearing. we all have our talking points. at the end of the day both sides own some of this mess but i'm a democrat, i think it is 80-20. republicans will think it is 80-20 on the other side. the general public may think it is 60-40 or 60-50. i am not sure that matters anymore. the question of who is at fault is not the most important question. the question is what do we do next? will the senate undermine its own authority and strengthen the power of partisanship? i say this to my republican colleagues, think about what you are going to do next. think about what this is going
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to mean the next time you are in the minority party because it will not be senators duckworth and cortez who can't even get a meeting with a supreme court nominee. it will be you. this is about the future of the senate and the supreme court. the nuclear option will mean nominees to the supreme court will not have to meet with or consider minority opinions. it will mean the senate habit of being slow, sometimes maddeningly so, but we know in the best interests of the country, will go away for this appointment. that tradition allows a senator to hold and will be undermined. i'm not asking you not to do this but i'm asking you to take your time. in the world's greatest deliberative body there is no reason to rush this decision. i am asking you to wait. i'm asking you to take a few
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weeks before you decide to change the senate forever, take your time. this is probably one of the most consequential decisions you are going to make in the united they senate because it is about the senate itself. it is worth talking about, this is worth deliberating over, worth thinking over. go home, talk to your constituents. if you want to do this you can do this anytime you want, you can do this the monday we get back from our spring work period. for goodness sake, there is no reason not to think about it for a little bit longer. all we need are three members of the republican party to go to their leader, publicly or privately and say we are not with you on nuclear yet. give us some time to try to save this important aspect of the senate because otherwise, you will make both the supreme court
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and the world's greatest delivered of body more extreme and more divided and i believe you will regret it. i yield the floor. >> madam president. >> senator from massachusetts. >> thank you, madam president. matter president, i rise to speak in opposition to the nomination of judge neil gorsuch to serve as an associate justice of the united states supreme court. let me begin by making clear my view, that the vacancy on the supreme court created by the death of justice antonin scalia was president obama's to filled but in an act of unprecedented obstructionism that makes a filibuster pale in comparison, senate republicans broke with long-standing senate tradition and refused to hold a vote or
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even a hearing on president obama's nominee, judge merrick garland. as we now consider president trump's nominee, judge neil gorsuch, we cannot ignore or forget this hyperpartisan action. we also cannot ignore how trump came to nominate judge gorsuch. president trump went to two of the most partisan conservative organizations which he could find, the koch brothers supported heritage foundation and the right wing federalist society. and said to them who do you want on the supreme court? they compiled their dream team of 21 ultra conservative candidates. president trump looked at the names on that list had asked himself which judge could pass the right wing litmus test he had articulated during the
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campaign, his choice was judge neil gorsuch. on the campaign trail, candidate donald trump aid clear that he was pro-life and would appoint pro-life judges to the supreme court. in one interview he was asked about his pro-life position as follows, here's the question posed to him. how important is that issue to you now? when president trump picks a supreme court justice, would there be a litmus test? trump responded, quote, it is, it is. during the second presidential debate, candidate trump doubled down on this issue. he was asked specifically about roe versus wade, the long-standing supreme court precedent establishing a woman's right to choose. the question to candidate trump was, quote, do you want the court including the justices
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that you will name to overturn roe versus wade? trump responded that he would, quote, be appointing pro-life judges, adding well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices, that will happen. meaning roe versus wade will be overturned. so we know from donald trump's own words that he had a litmus test for supreme court nominees on a woman's right to choose and that litmus test is he will appoint only pro-life justices who are committed to overturning roe versus wade. what about a litmus test on guns? during the presidential campaign candidate trump, emphasizes pro-gun views which are in lockstep with the national rifle association.
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he was asked about a litmus test for the second amendment specifically the precedent established in the 2008 supreme court case of district of columbia versus heller. in heller the justices ruled 5-numfour that a common sense washington dc law handing handguns and requiring other firearms to be scored unloaded or locked, violated the second amendment. candidate trump was asked, quote, will you make up the heller decision a litmus test supreme court nominees? trump answered, quote, yes i would. the follow-up question, you won't nominate somebody to the supreme court unless they agree with scalia on the heller decision trump responded, quote,. we know from donald trump's own words that he had a litmus test on guns, his judges must support
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the national rifle association agenda, dangerous broad view of the second amendment. from that list of 21 names provided to him by the heritage foundation and the federalist society president trump chose judge neil gorsuch apparently convinced that he was the man who would pass these litmus tests. the senate judiciary hearing on judge gorsuch where an opportunity for him to dispel doubts about his independence, that president trump's selection process raised. unfortunately judge gorsuch did nothing to address these concerns. in fact, his appearance before the judiciary committee raised more questions than it answered because judge gorsuch was positively sphinx like before
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the senator's questioning him. for example, when repeatedly asked about something as elementary as his judicial philosophy judge gorsuch refused to answer. he declined to say whether he agreed with the roe versus wade decision, the district of columbia versus heller decision or other controversial decisions like citizens united which opened the floodgates to unrestricted secret money in a left oral campaigns or even the decision in bush versus gore which decided the 2000 election. judge gorsuch refused to respond to whether he agreed with other important supreme court precedents, on the right to privacy, the right to counsel in criminal proceedings, voting rights or same-sex marriage. contrast that to justice sonia sodalite or, during her confirmation hearing explained
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she fully understood the individual right to bear arms that the supreme court recognized in the heller decision. contrast that with justice anthony kennedy who during his hearing praised the supreme court landmark 1963 decision in gideon versus wainwright which established the right to counsel in criminal cases or even contrast judge gorsuch to chief justice john roberts, privacy the liberty interest before the due process clause. at his hearing judge gorsuch repeatedly parroted critical supreme court decisions were precedents of the court, that he would follow unless and until they were overturned but he said no light on what he felt about those precedents or whether or not he would be inclined or disinclined to vote to overturn
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them. only after considerable prodding the judge gorsuch eventually agree that the decision in brown versus board of education, which did away with the doctrine of separate but equal and desegregated schools across the nation was correct. having to pry out of judge gorsuch that concession does not inspire confidence in him. his performance at the hearings left us with many troubling things that we don't know about judge gorsuch, but equally troubling about judge gorsuch are the things we do know about him. we do know that judge gorsuch argued the hobby lobby decision in which he ruled corporations are people whose religious beliefs are more important than the reproductive rights and health of women. we do know judge gorsuch has questioned the judicial doctrine of what is known as chevron deference. that is the rule from the
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supreme court case of chevron versus the natural resources defense council under which judges must generally defer to expert administrative agency interpretation of laws they are charged with administering. in a speech last year judge gorsuch attacked the modern administrative state that developed under chevron. a pose a threat to values of personal liberty. it is not some abstract legal theorizing. he is attacking the fundamental that protects the health, safety and welfare of all americans. like the environment protection
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agency. and -- and the air and drinking water are clean, rules that ensure drugs and medicines are safe and effective, rules that ensure automobiles, workplaces, food, medicine and children's toys are not dangerous, rules that ensure financial markets are fair, a level playing field. justice scalia supported chevron deference but judge gorsuch has signaled that he would overturn it and instead allow pro-corporate judges to substitute their policy views for those of agency experts, deflecting the destruction of the regulations that protect the health, safety and welfare of americans sounds familiar. it should. it is straight out of the alt right steve bannon playbook.
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it is a fringe position that is not worthy of representation on our nation's highest court. we also note that the supreme court just rejected judge gorsuch's harsh reasoning in a disability rights case. a few years ago judge gorsuch wrote an opinion for the 10th circuit court of appeals in a case under the individuals with disabilities education act. that opinion held that schools across the country must provide educational benefits to students with disabilities that, quote, must be more than they minimis. just last week, in a idea case, all eight supreme court justices disagreed with judge gorsuch.
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chief justice roberts wrote that the idea, the individuals with disabilities, education act, is, quote, markedly more demanding than merely more than they minimis test applied by the 10th circuit and added judge gorsuch's approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education. we also know that judge gorsuch has consistently ruled against employees in cases involving claims of unsafe workplace, sex discrimination and has repeatedly sided with insurance companies that sought to deny disability benefits to employees. here's something else we know. of the first 75 days of the trump administration are a preview of coming attractions, one thing could not clear. the united states supreme
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court's will defending the constitution will be tested as never before, conflicts of interest, muslim bands, defending lgbt cute protections, the constitutional rights, violating every single day. we need a supreme court justice who is independent and not beholden to ideology. we need a justice who will stand up for the rights of all americans, and to the right of antonin scalia with chevron deference is not a mainstream justice. and by a substantial margin as professors from michigan state university and university of wisconsin concluded examining
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judge gorsuch's opinion of the 10th circuit and supreme court decisions reviewing them is not someone within the mainstream of american jurisprudence. everything we have seen so far of donald trump's judicial litmus test to the visible hand of right-wing interest groups in the selection process, to judge gorsuch's reluctance before the judiciary committee, to his pro-corporate bias in cases he has decided leads me to the conclusion that he will be neither a justice for all americans, nor one on whom we can count to stand up to president trump. he cannot let judge neil gorsuch become the crucial ninth vote on the supreme court. one justice matters. the list of recent 5-4 decisions out of the supreme court shows that one judge's vote can forever alter history. just remember that bush versus
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gore, citizens united, district of columbia versus heller, the affordable care act, were all decided by 5-4 votes which i will therefore oppose judge gorsuch's nomination to the supreme court and support the filibuster. i urge my colleagues to do so as well. if judge gorsuch cannot muster 60 votes the problem is not with the process, it is with the nominee. judge gorsuch cannot get to 60 votes historically required for confirmation for the nation's highest court, i urge president trump to withdraw his nomination and consult with a wide range of senators, legal scholars and others the past presidents have sought out before making a supreme court nomination and put before us someone in the mold of merrick garland who can enjoy bipartisan support and be within the broad mainstream of american
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jurisprudential history. otherwise the consequences of forcing judge gorsuch's nomination through will fall squarely on the shoulders of president trump and his republican allies in the senate and if they decide to exercise the nuclear option, forever changing the history of the united states senate. i urge a no vote on judge gorsuch and president, i yield back to the chair. >> senator from virginia. >> matter president, i rise to discuss the screen court nomination of judge neil gorsuch of the 10th circuit. i take this very seriously. i started my legal career as a pellet law clerk in the 11th circuit court of appeals, working for a spectacular jurist, judge anderson, he taught me about what it was to be in appellate judge, humility, not making a case of personal cause, careful application of
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the law. i went on to practice law in the state and federal courts, trial and appeal court including the supreme court as a civil rights lawyer for 17 years, when i was governor of virginia i twice had to appoint members of the virginia supreme court and grappled with qualifications to serve on an appellate bench and most especially my wife was a judge. i spent a lot of time thinking about the characteristics of a good judge. judge gorsuch has some strong characteristics, educational background, professional experience, these are characteristics worthy of respect. but i have decided there is an additional characteristic that is very important, judicial philosophy. as i looked at judge gorsuch's judicial philosophy i have concluded i cannot support him. i have read scores of his opinions. i met with him in my office.
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i am so proud of my colleagues, democratic and republican because in two months judge gorsuch has enjoyed something merrick garland didn't get in ten months, judge gorsuch has had meetings with virtually all senators, he had a judiciary committee hearing, he had a judiciary committee vote, he is getting floor debate and he will get a floor vote. those of the five things he is entitled to and he is getting all of them. judge merrick garland was nominated, republicans wouldn't eat with him, wouldn't hold a hearing, wouldn't do a committee vote, wouldn't do floor debate and wouldn't do a floor vote, he got nothing, he got nothing that he is entitled to as a sitting judge on the dc circuit and the senate didn't exercise the advise and consent function that is part of our constitutional job description. let's talk about judge gorsuch's record and many of my colleagues have been thinking that is speaking 4 hours. judge gorsuch was promoted by
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president trump is not an activist, not an activist and judge gorsuch has written with scorn about activist judge moral saying judges to impose their moral or social preferences on others can't square their position with the constitution was he even scored activists in court saying liberals are addicted to the courtroom as if somehow bringing constitutional claims courts are wrong. it is fair to look at gorsuch's values on standard. is he an activist or not the best definition of a non-activist judge was the definition given by chief justice roberts during his confirmation hearing. i am in umpire. i have no platform, no agenda, without fear of favorites, i am in umpire and i looked at judge gorsuch's record and talked about a set of cases to determine whether that was true. i concluded that judge gorsuch is definitely an activist. he may not -- you don't have to
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be an activist on everything to be an activist but i do believe he is an activist and it shows through in no area clearer than it shows through in cases dealing with women's ability to make their own decisions about their own health care especially reproductive health. a famous 2013 cases much been discussed during these committees, hobby lobby versus burwell. it was a challenge brought up in the 10th circuit where judge gorsuch now sits in the legal question was pretty straightforward. under a congressional act designed to protect religious liberty, the religious freedom restoration act, could a company claim that it's religious views conflicted with the contraception mandate of the affordable care act? could they gain protection for their own position? it was a controversial case because the notion that a company could assert religious use with a sort of novel theory at the time but the majority in
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the 10th circuit, judge sensenbrenner -- gorsuch is part of the majority, it could be based on sincerely held religious beliefs and could assert their beliefs conflicted with the aca contraception mandate and in 2014 that ruling was upheld by the supreme court, controversial decision but the majority agreed with the decision that a company could assert, sincerely held religious beliefs in conflict with the statute. judge gorsuch joined later affirmed by the supreme court but what interested me about judge gorsuch was he chose to write a concurring opinion. it is a ruling in the case. if the judge feels it is wrong
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does will write a dissenting opinion saying you are wrong and here is why and you are duty-bound if you think the majority is wrong to write a dissenting a concurring opinion is as voluntary as it gets. a concurring opinion as i agree with the outcome but i have a point i want to make that i can't convince the majority to go along with was i want to make this point. judge gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion that was incredibly revealing, it was voluntary and that shows a little bit about a person, revealing for two reasons. judge gorsuch had already joined the majority opinion to say the employer, hobby lobby could challenge the employer mandate of the aca, stretched beyond to all the individuals owning the company, to sue the employer mandate. the aca mandate only applies to the employer of the female employees, the employer was hobby lobby but even though the
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mandate didn't even apply family that owned the company judge gorsuch said they should be able to challenge the aca anyway. i practiced law for a long time, there is a complete situation, separation between individuals and a company. you can run a business and not incorporate it and there is no separation but as soon as you incorporate it you get all kinds of protection, especially protect your own personal assets from liability for corporate action. the green family had done that the judge gorsuch said even though you voluntarily separating yourself from the company and even though the mandate doesn't apply to you, you should be able to file a lawsuit to challenge the mandate. i found that to be highly highly unusual. a great stretch. i asked about it when we talked and he did not give me a satisfactory answer. here is the thing about the hobby lobby case. it was the way judge gorsuch described what the case was about. the majority opinion in the 10th circuit and the majority opinion
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in the supreme court described the case the same way. they said the owners of this company claim the contraception mandate is contrary to their religious views. that is what the case is about. the clash was between the owner's religious beliefs and the statute. judge gorsuch described the case differently, here were his words. all of us must face the problem of complicity. all of us must decide the degree to which we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others. he didn't describe it as a clash between the owners and the statute, he described it as a case about whether you are willing to be complicit in the wrongdoing of others. that wasn't the legal issue at all. what does that phrase mean he gorsuch concurring opinion? the wrongdoing of others, who are the others he is talking
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about? he's talking about female employees of hobby lobby who wish to make their own choice from among available and lawful methods of contraception. those are the others he is referring to and he is also referring to that choice as wrongdoing. that is a completely editorial comment that is not drawn from what a lawyer said or a plaintiff said. that is his own characterization of the case and it is completely irrelevant and i would argue insulting. it is a completely irrelevant and insulting reference to something that wasn't part of the case at all except gorsuch decided to inject it into the case. somebody who looks at women making their own choice as contraception is the wrongdoing of a face is telling. >> the time for the democrats has expired. >> if my friend the senator from virginia needs a minute or two
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to wrap-up, we caught him and thought, i am happy to yield to him. >> i appreciate and take two minutes. >> i think my friend, the deputy majority leader is why for the senior senator from texas. i draw support for my conclusion about that language from two other cases judge gorsuch was involved in in the 10th circuit. one case dealing with contraception, one case dealing with the effort to defund planned parenthood in utah. in both cases the 10th circuit reached a decision that was pro women's health, pro-women's health access and the parties were fine with the decisions. they were going back to the district court and they didn't apply to the cases we heard in bank but both these cases judge gorsuch took the highly unusual step of trying to get the appeals heard anyway even though the a parties didn't want to hear them. in my experience as an appellate advocate that is virtually
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unheard of and talked to litigators in the 10th circuit and they said the same thing, it is highly rare and the fact that gorsuch would do it in two cases both of which involve women's health access is important. and his confirmation hearing judge gorsuch was asked directly whether he agreed with the decision in griswold versus connecticut, 1965 division that said women, married couples could not be criminalized for using contraception. he said it was a precedent worthy of respect like our presidents but he would not agree, he would not say he agreed with the case. chief justice roberts during his confirmation that he agreed with the case, justice thomas said i have no quarrel with griswold, justice alito said he agreed with the case but judge gorsuch would not. griswold versus connecticut has been used repeatedly in the last 50 years to basically create a body of constitutional precedent that says the relationships of people, romantic intimate
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relationships should be free from the intrusion of big government. you can't criminalize somebody because of their relationship and somebody who is not willing to commit to that principle is somebody who has not heard my vote. i think my friend from texas. >> madam president. >> majority whip. >> madam president, members of the senate have been coming to before talking about the important vote we will be casting tomorrow and again on friday which will result in the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch as the next associate justice of the united states supreme court. having served on the senate judiciary committee since i first came to the senate it has been my honor to participate in the confirmation hearings in the committee on now five supreme court justices, judge gorsuch being the latest and what i have been struck by when it comes to judge gorsuch how much our
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friends across the aisle who cast a partyline vote for the judiciary committee against the judge on his confirmation, how they have been struggling to come up with even one intellectually honest argument against the nominee in spite of obvious intimate disqualifications and bipartisan support. i heard our colleague virginia, senator kane, criticized a couple decisions the judge made when what he left out was judge gorsuch participated in 2700 panel decisions on the 10th circuit court of appeals during his 10 year tenure there. 99% of them, 97% of them were unanimous. is the presiding officer knows, each of the judges, the three judges on the typical panel, everyone agreed whether they were nominated by republican or democrat so this whole idea of
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cherry picking the judge's judicial record to find some straw, grasp at some straw with which to disagree with his confirmation is pretty striking to me. last night we saw the latest act of desperation, to try to justify the unprecedented artisan alabaster of judge gorsuch. for example it was reported that a handful of lines in a 2006 book are borrowed from other sources. the timing of this says it all. this book has been published as we 10 years. the only reason for this allegation is a last-minute attempt to try to make something, anything stick, to tarnish the character of someone who will soon serve on the united states supreme court. this baseless attack is not only disingenuous but transparent and
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has absolutely no merit. has rejected that characterization. the author of the main article rejected the characterization of the plagiarism nation, under the circumstances it would have been awkward and difficult to judge gorsuch to have used different language. other academic experts have rejected the claim and made clear the preferred methodology for facts is to cite original sources which is exactly what judge gorsuch did. talk about an 11th hour baseless attack. the bottom line is this. instead of evaluating the judge based on his qualifications, sterling reputation he has among
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people across the political spectrum our friends across the aisle are determined to attempt the first successful partisan filibuster of the supreme court nominee. that is disappointing but it is also destined for failure. yesterday i pointed out how we got here factoring the president george w. bush's first term, senator schumer and others lay the groundwork and executed a strategy for unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees. that was in response to the election of the last republican president and this is in response to the election of a new republican president. i think for him, following the election of the current one, obstruction of a perfectly qualified nominee to the supreme court is just the next step, represent the ultimate escalation of this weaponization of the filibuster used in
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judicial confirmation. as i said before based on the merits of the nominee, the justifications for opposing judge gorsuch are paperthin. our colleagues across the isle unanimously supported judge gorsuch when he was confronted the 10th circuit court of appeals we 10 years ago. he got everybody's vote. this was to the 10th circuit court of appeals, a lifetime tenured position. all of them agreed he should be confirmed. that includes than senators obama, senator clinton and senator biden. i would ask you what has changed in the last we 10 years that caused them to reach deep into their bag of tricks and filibuster this nominee for the supreme court? it isn't his track record as judge, that is for sure. i mentioned the 2700 cases he participated in 97% were
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unanimous. 97%. one recent analysis put him in the middle of the circuit ideologically speaking and for a decade he has done a good, fair work as a judge on the 10th circuit, really outstanding work to be honest. that should tell you something about this judge and this man but it should also tell you something about the opponents of this nominee, many of whom like barack obama and hillary clinton as i mentioned supported his nomination just we 10 years ago. the only thing that changed, the only thing that explains our radical shift of democrat in opposition to this good judge is that now president trump is in the white house. i honestly believe that every excuse they have come up with to engage in this unprecedented filibuster is completely without merit. what they are really upset about
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is what happens on november 8th. i don't believe if they won't confirm judge gorsuch they will never vote to confirm any nominee of this president, period. what we are talking about all we are asking for is an up or down vote. if they want to vote against the nomination that is their right. as everybody knows, to get to that we first have to get 60 votes to close off debate and then to the majority up or down vote but they won't even allow us to move to a vote. so i hope our democratic friends who are obstructing will reconsider. i believe four democrats are going join all the republicans in voting to confirm this nominee so he will enjoy bipartisan support.
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as he should. this judge is a faithful interpreter of the law. he believes in an independent judiciary and enjoys support across the ideological spectrum. he will be confirmed as the next supreme court justice but it is up to our democratic friends to determine just how that occurs. i yield the floor. >> mister president, i rise today to offer my strong support for judge neil gorsuch, president trump's pick to replace justice scalia on the supreme court. on monday his nomination passed out of the senate judiciary committee and we expect to confirm him before the end of the week. i'm tremendously excited to have him on the bench. throughout his career judge gorsuch has proven time and again that he is exceptionally qualified to serve on the supreme court as he is endorsed by members of both sides of the political spectrum, the left and
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the right. as a judge on the 10th circuit court of appeals in 2006 after being unanimously confirmed by this body, judge gorsuch has proven he is as mainstream as they come. of the 800 plus opinions he has written for the 10th circuit, less than 2%, or 14 opinions, have drawn dissent from his colleagues, 98% of his opinions have been unanimous. that is even more remarkable when you look at the makeup of the 10th circuit, 12 of the judges were appointed by democrat presidents while five were appointed by republicans. it does not get more mainstream than that. during his confirmation hearing last month judge gorsuch again proved that he is eminently qualified to serve on the bench of our nation's highest court. let me share some of his quotes from his hearing. the constitution doesn't change the world around us changes.
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i don't believe in litmus tests for judges. if i am confirmed i will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant to the constitution and laws of this great nation. and one last quote. as a judge now for more than a decade i watched my colleague spend long days worrying over cases, sometimes the answers we reach aren't the ones we personally prefer, sometimes the answers follow us home at night and keep us up but the answers we reach are always the ones we believe the law requires and for all its imperfections, i believe that the rule of law in this nation truly is a wonder, and it is no wonder it is the envy of
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the world. mister president, it is clear the judge gorsuch is a qualified, as qualified to serve on the supreme court and he understands the role of a judge to interpret the law, not to make the law. to that end i would like to highlight gorsuch's understanding of the separation of powers doctrine and optimistic the judge gorsuch will carefully scrutinize cases and controversies that involve executive overreach. the past eight years have seen an unprecedented expansion of the administrative state. this has come at the expense of the legislative branch whose purpose is to make law and the judicial branch whose purpose is to interpret the law and decide on specific law's constitutionality but more concerning than that it has also come at the expense of american citizens.
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overreach by executive agencies has led to regulatory expansion that result in the federal government involving itself in nearly every facet of our lives on a daily basis. this expansion has been permitted to us courts relying on the flawed chevron doctrine was to show great deference to agency interpretation of laws passed by congress as a result, agencies have been able to broadly interpret laws in a way that allows them to expand the regulatory authority far beyond what congress ever intended. us judges are questioning the chevron doctrine and its impact on the separation of powers
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the responsibility, and i quote, interpret statutory provisions and overturn agency action inconsistent with those provisions, end of quote. and questions the idea that congress, and once again i quote, intended to delegate away its legislative power to executive agencies.
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judge gorsuch takes his duty as a judge with the utmost seriousness. he seeks to interpret the law the way congress intended, not in the way an executive agency wants it to be. his careful and academic approach to judicial review is well-suited for our nation's highest court. i'm confident that judge gorsuch will respect and a force of the constitutionally a firm separation of powers doctrine that in recent years has been diluted by executive agencies broadly interpreting laws resulting in regulatory overreach. this has minimized the role of congress and the legislative process. as a result the voices of american citizens have also been minimized and replace with unelected washington bureaucrats who think they know what is best for all americans. judge gorsuch is one of the finest judges our nation has to offer. the knowledge and careful
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deliberation he will bring to the court will be sold in buildings that reflect justice, fairness, and an interpretation of what the law is and what congress intended it to be, not what administrative agencies want it to be. despite an impeccable credentials and we are in a a situation today because of a precedent set in november 2013 by then majority leader harry reid and his conference. former leader reads use of so-called nuclear option in 2013 meant the senate could reinterpret its rules via simple majority vote. former leader reid accomplish this by challenging the ruling of the chair with regard to the number of votes needed to end debate on certain nominations. the standing rules of the senate require the support of a super majority or 67% to change the rules. to challenge the ruling of the
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chair, harry reid only needed a majority vote to overturn the presiding officers correct interpretation of the written rule. in other words, former leader reid broke the rules to change the rules and by default change the president moving forward as well. based on this new precedent set by former leader reid, the senate is likely to confirm judge gorsuch to the supreme court by a simple majority vote. because of the senate is always operated on precedent we will likely follow this new precedent to approve judge gorsuch's later this week. when he is confirmed, judge gorsuch will make a tremendous addition to the united states supreme court. his lifetime and defending the constitution, applying the law as it was written provides clear evidence that he has the aptitude for this lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court.
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thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. and i note the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president, i rise today in support of the nomination of judge neil gorsuch to be our next united states supreme court justice. article ii, section two of the constitution entrusts members of the senate with the responsibility vital to our democracy, providing advice and consent on the president supreme court nominees. the significance of this task cannot be overstated here and it is one that i take very seriously. days after president donald trump nominated judge gorsuch to fill the late justice scalia seat on the supreme court, i shared the qualities that i wanted to see in a justice. they included a strong commitment to the rule of law.
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first rate credentials, and a solid judicial record. the time has come to determine whether the nominee meets those criteria. after meeting personally with judge gorsuch, watching his confirmation hearing and evaluating his background and legal record, i believe that answer is a resounding yes. judge gorsuch's credentials are exemplary. he has an extraordinary resume and a brilliant mind. for ten years he has served on the u.s. court of appeals for the tenth circuit. the senate confirmed him to this position by unanimous consent in 2006. no roll call vote was needed, because all 100 members supported the nomination. to date, judge gorsuch has
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decided 2700 cases, 99% of the time he sided with the majority. he is offered opinions in 800 of those cases. 98% of the decisions in these cases were unanimous. this record tells us something important. he is well within the mainstre mainstream. it's why he has gained the respect of prominent attorneys on the right and on the left. several of my democratic colleagues have made similar observations. senator donnelly recently said that he would support judge gorsuch's nomination because quote, he is a qualified jurist who will basis decisions on his understanding of the law. similarly, senator heitkamp indicated that she would vote confirm judge gorsuch because
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quote, he has the record as a balanced, meticulous and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law. mr. president, my colleagues have it right. a justice should be a follower of the constitution, not a trailblazer or an advocate. his or her role is to interpret and uphold the laws, not to create them. judge gorsuch understand unders. he takes it seriously. in his confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee, gorsuch emphasized gamblers of judicial precedent and a fair approach to the law. he said i come here with no agenda but one, to be as good and faithful a judge as i know how to be. similarly in a private meeting in my office, the judge promised to follow the law, wherever it
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may lead. judge gorsuch recognizes the pivotal but the limited role that the constitution allows judges to play in our republic. during long days of testimony at his confirmation hearing, he made clear that while legislators and -- answer to the people, a judge answers only to the law. at the same time judge gorsuch said that he interprets his judicial oath as a promise to make sure that every person, poor or rich, mighty or meek, gets equal protection of the law. mr. president, equality before the law is nebraska's state motto. it represents the commitment nebraskans made 150 years ago when we entered the union.
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that principle remains strong today. it should be a cornerstone of judicial philosophy for any nominee to our nation's highest court. it's why the words equal justice under the law are in grade on the front of the supreme court. judge gorsuch is dedicated to this principle. he is committed to applying the laws neutrally, equally, and fairly to all people. now, mr. president, some of my democratic colleagues are saying that judge gorsuch is out of the mainstream. they argue he won't look out for the little guy. they are prepared to take the unprecedented and extreme step of filibustering this nominati nomination. this would be the first
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successful totally partisan filibuster of a supreme court justice in the history of the united states senate. mr. president, let me share some of the facts about this institution. in our countries history, no cabinet nominees have ever been denied their appointment by a senate filibuster. in our countries history, no federal district court judges have ever been denied their seats by a senate filibuster. the first time a filibuster was used to defeat a judicial nomination was for a circuit court judge who was nominated by president george w. bush to the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit. in our country's history, the filibuster has only been invoked once to block the supreme court
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nominee. it was in 1968, and it threaten the bipartisan filibuster by republicans and democrats prevented associate justice portis from becoming chief justice of the supreme court. the nominee ended up with a drawing because of ethical concerns. to sitting members of the supreme court were confirmed by fewer than 60 votes on an up or down vote. but neither one was the subject of a filibuster. a filibuster of this nominee, it sets dangerous president and undermines the reputation of this institution. judge gorsuch will make an excellent supreme court justice. the american people deserve to have him on the bench.
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and i look forward to voting in support of judge gorsuch's nomination to serve as our next supreme court justice. and i urge my senate colleagues to do the same. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> mr. president, i'm honored to come to the floor today and join my colleagues to support the nomination of judge neil gorsuch. the supreme court of the united states, judge gorsuch is an example, an exemplary pic, from my home state of north dakota and also for our nation as a whole. he has shown to respect to the constitution, has a strong record of upholding the rule of law. if confirmed, judge gorsuch will take the seat that was held by the late justice antonin scalia. of course filling the vacancy will be no easy task. justice scalia was a brilliant
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legal mind to it on the respect of many in the legal community during his nearly 30 years on the supreme court. he was a true defender of u.s. constitution and sought to protect it so that future generations of america, of americans could live and thrive in a free society. his legacy on the court will influence american jurisprudence generations to come. if there's anyone who is worthy of filling justice scalia's shoes, it is judge gorsuch. like scalia, judge gorsuch is an originalist. when it comes to interpreting the constitution. i had the pleasure of meeting with judge gorsuch last week to discuss his nomination. i'm confident that he will make an excellent justice. mr. president, if you look at his background, it is clear that he is an incredibly qualified nominee.
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after receiving degrees from columbia, harvard and oxford, judge gorsuch went on to clerk for notable supreme court justices byron white and anthony kennedy for entering private practice. after ten years of private practice, gorsuch began his career in public service as a deputy associate attorney general at the united states department of justice. in 2006 he was nominated by george bush to be the united, to the united states court of appeals for the tenth circuit, and he was confirmed unanimously by the united states senate. let me repeat that. he was confirmed unanimously by this body. i believe that says a lot about judge gorsuch as a candidate, anybody that is often divided, a
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candidate that can receive unanimous support is truly noteworthy. when nominated by the president, judge gorsuch said quote, judge who likes of the outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands, end quote. during his tenure on the tenth circuit, he has demonstrated fair and prudent judgment in his opinions. in addition to his impressive professional background, judge gorsuch has roots as a westerner, and will bring those roots and a much-needed perspective to the supreme court. because decisions come from the court affect the lives of americans across the country it's important t the court is comprised of justices from different regions of the country. it's a critical our next supreme court justice has familiarity with the challenges western and
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midwestern states like my home state, and other states, issues such as states' rights, second amendment rights, land-use disputes, and the complex relationship between state and tribal governments. these are the everyday realities we face across this country that the justices must deal with. i expect many of these important issue to come before the supreme court in the coming months. in fact, just yesterday the court decided to move forward on litigation regarding former president obama's waters of the u.s. rule, also known as wotus which is at impact on farmers and ranchers and friends of the constitutional role of the states. judge gorsuch background also
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makes him a prominent voice for indian country. as chairman of the senate indian affairs committee i believe it's important for our next supreme court justice to have a concrete record of respecting tribal sovereignty. i was pleased to learn that his earned the support of a number of native american groups, including the national congress of american indians, and the native american rights. judge gorsuch has a long history of handling cases that affect native americans from his time on the tenth circuit. his demonstrated a consistent understanding of the unique legal principles involved in federal tribal law. the boundary between state and tribal authorities is often ambiguous. yet judge gorsuch was able to bring clarity as he diligently studied the law and respected existing precedents in tribal sovereignty. for example, the tribe of utah
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has been engaged in legal battles with the state over the states authority to prosecute native americans on tribal land. judge gorsuch has consistently ruled in favor of tribal sovereignty. in hydro resources versus epa, a case in which epa overreached, redefined the boundaries of indian lands, judge gorsuch overruled epa's interpretation and respected the current tribal boundaries. mr. president, for all these reasons i urge a yes vote on judge gorsuch nomination. it's the highest court in the land. the decisions have a widespread impact on millions of americans. when the stakes of this site it is necessary that we confirm someone with a sound, there and prudent approach to the law. no doubt judge gorsuch is the right person for this role.

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