U.S. Senate Confirms Dan Coats to be Director of National Intelligence CSPAN March 15, 2017 11:28am-1:29pm EDT
constitutional rights. it's up for reauthorization by the end of the year. while more information may be part of the answer, we have got to have the best possible estimate to answer those questions that i just outlined. the american people want congress to get to the bottom of questions that go right to the heart of our having policies that promote both their security and their liberty. i think the public expects a full debate. you can't have a full debate. you cannot have a full and real debate over the foreign intelligence surveillance act unless you have some sense of how many law-abiding americans are getting swept up in these searches of foreigners. i believe the american people
expect serious oversight through it. they want assurances that their representatives in congress have a sense of what is actually being voted on, and after years of secret surveillance programs being revealed only in the news media, i think the public has rightly insisted on more openness and more transparency. so getting the information that i have described today that will deal with senator coats' top priority, reauthorizing the foreign intelligence surveillance act is a critical first step. once the senate knows the impact of this program on americans, then you can have a full and real discussion, a real debate in congress with the public and with the director of national
intelligence. i took the view in the committee, mr. president, despite very much liking dan coats and his being the bipartisan cosponsor of what is still the only federal income tax reform proposal we've had in the senate since the 1986 law was authored. i said that i can't support any nominee to be the head of national intelligence if that nominee will not guarantee that before this reauthorization is brought before the senate and brought before the intelligence committee, that we have the information needed to do our jobs, to do real oversight, to show the american people that
it's possible to come up with policies that promote security an liberty and forhat reason, despite my friendship for senator coats, i cannot support the nomination and i yield the floor and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president, i ask to vitiate the quorum call.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: mr. president, this week is sunshine week, a week when we applaud open government and the institutions that hold government accountable. throughout nation's history one of the most important has been the free press. donald trump has repeatedly attacked the press. he has called it the enemy of the people. he's labeled the national media outlets as fake news, and he has criticized respected reporters who have reported for years. he has singled out mainstream newspapers like "the new york times," "politico" and the loss anglias times -- "l.a. times." he acts like a bully, not sr*us with the need -- just with the media, he attacks the courts when the article 3 judges
disagree with him and when they find he is breaking the law. he attacks sitting judges for deciding against him, even those appointed by republican presidents. without basis, he attacks our intelligence agencies and demeans career public servants who risk their lives to keep our nation safe. the president's goal is obvious -- to undermine institutions in our country who threaten him, who criticize him. authoritarians have used this for centuries and continue to do so today in countries where democracies are weak or nonexistent and where auptopistry is strong. we are an example to the rest of the world. the president's repeated attacks
on our democratic institutions need stop and need to stop now. a free and robust press is critical for democracy to work, period, end of story. our nation's history of ra free press -- of a free press dates back to our founding. free press in colonial united states developed in reaction to severe restrictions on free speech in england. during the latter half of the 18th century, all books were required to be licensed by the government to be published. then bringing hatred or contempt upon the crown or parliament by written word was a criminal offense. so to speak against the crown was a criminal offense. truth was not a defense. no publication could criticize the crown or the government even if it was accurate.
the first newspapers and colonies operated under license from the colonial governor. by 1721, james franklin, was publishing one of the first colonial independent newspapers. the new england crent in boston, ben franklin sometimes contributed under pen names. several years later ben franklin began to publish the pennsylvania gazette. his newspaper became the most popular in the colonies and was published until 1800. by 1735, the tenants of this were coming undone. john peter zinger, publisher of new england weekly journal ran articles harshly critical of the
government. while he admitted he published the articles, his lawyer argued truth was the defense. the press, the lawyer argued -- the press, the lawyer argued, has, quote, a liberty both of exposing and opposing tyrannical power. the judge instructed the jury to the law at the time that zinger must be found guilty if he published the articles whether truthful or not. but after 10 minutes of deliberation, the jury acquitted zinger. this was the beginning of the free press. the first bill and the bill of rights are part of speech and assembly. the press is expressly protected by the constitution. in 1789 the drafters of the bill
of rights understood that a free press was essential to the growth and success of our new democracy. they understood that debate, disagreement, the free flow of ideas make an informed public. that the press helps educate voters. they understood all too well that government power needed to be checked and that the press holds the powerful in check by investigating and exposing arbitrary conduct, abuse, and corruption. a democracy cannot exist without a free press. it's as simple as that. but our president doesn't seem to understand this or he doesn't care. according to him, the press is, quote, dishonest, not good people, sleazy, and among the worst human beings. those are all quotes by our president. established press organizations
are the fake news and a few weeks ago he declared the press, quote, an enemy of the people. we haven't heard attacks like this since watergate, and even then, it wasn't so much so fast. the president's subordinates are now given license to accuse and to limit press access. chief strategist steve bannon said the he press should, quote, keep its mouth shut and skwr*ugs listen for a while -- and just listen for a while. mr. president, this quote from mr. bannon has extra significance today because he is no longer the head of a right-wing media company. in a controversial move, president trump issued an executive order to add him to the national security council's principles committee. today we are going to vote on
the nomination of general mcmaster to retain his three-star general status while serving as the head of the national security council. i do not believe a political extremist like mr. bannonhould serve on the council. at a minimum general mcmaster should direct mr. bannon to stop attacking the free press while serving on the council. senior advisor kellyan conway called for media organizations to fire report hoarse who kreut -- who -- reporters who criticize president trump. the secretary of state will now travel without the press corps, disregarding a decade's old practice. don't get me wrong. the press doesn't always get it right. they make mistakes, news
organizations have their biases, mistakes should be corrected and bias should be tempered by using accepted journalistic methods and professional judgment and tporlg journalism's -- and following journalism's ethics code. but mistakes are not the same thing as reporting fake news. the president's republican colleagues have been too silent in the face of attacks. few in congress have stood up against the president's hostility to the press. government officials are afraid to disagree. just last week at a senate con phers hearing i -- commerce hearing, i ask the f.c.c. chair a yes or no question -- does he agree with the president that the press is the enemy of the people. he did not engage, he would not answer, he let stand the president's remarks. the president's characterization
of the press as the enemy is reminiscent of president nixon. nixon said, i quote, never forget, the press is the enemy. the press is the enemy. end quote, as recorded in his secret tapes. the press exposed his criminal conduct, which led to his resignation. the press is trump's enemy because they expose his ties to russia. the press' myriad show his constant barrage misrepresentation of fact. nixon's press secretary called "the washington post's" investigative reporting sho sho. that same "post" reporting won the paper a paoultser prize --
pull et ceteraer prize -- to have the cia block the f.b.i.'s investigation into the source of the funding for the watergate burglary. during his last presidential election, we had a -- during the last presidential election, we had a cyber break in of the d.n.c. even after 17 u.s. intelligence agencies concluded russia hacked the d.n.c. t sway the election, candidate trump refused to accept their analysis. the president's chief of staff pressured the f.b.i. to publicly deny that trump associates had contact with the russians. while his chief counsel reportedly breached the fire wall seeking information from the f.b.i. about investigation into the president and his associates. and since the press began to
look hard at the ties between president trump, the trump organization, his associates, and russia, the president has not let up on his criticism. last week the president threatened by tweet, and i quote, it is amazing how rude much of the heeda is to hi -- media is to my hard-working representatives. be nice, you will do much better. the job of the press isn't to be nice, it's to gather the facts and report them. now that the president of the united states has called the reputable u.s. news organizations fake news, others are doing the same. russia's foreign ministry spokesman recently accused a cnn reporter of spreading, and i quote, fake news, because the reporter asked about accusations from u.s. officials that the russian ambassador is a spy.
this is a dangerous path. put *eurp -- putin throttleed ad imposed restrictions on the news media. reporters have been harassed and jailed. the numberles of truly independent -- the numbers of truly independent media organizations have been reduced. they are owned by state-run media. a propaganda bullhorn for putin according to secretary john kerry. the secretary admires putin. putin has used his strength to silence an independent press. we do not want our press silenced. justice brandeis in a famous defense of free speech in a 1927 first amendment case said --
those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. they did not fear political liberty. does president trump fear political liberty? the irony of the president's accusations of fake news is that he himself has spread misinformation and fanned the flames of internet-driven lies from questioning president obama's citizenship to his frivolous claim that millions of people committed voter fraud, and he really won the popular vote. that's his claim, the president, that he really won the popular vote. and to the president's unsubstantiated accusation that president obama wire tapped trump tower. we have entered into an era in u.s. politics never seen before in my lifetime. we cannot allow this to be
sanitized or explain it away. the phrase alternative facts has become a national joke because it sounds like something from george orwell's 1984. it's not acceptable for a president to falsify, misrepresent or flat out lie. the president's party in congress should not allow this. they should not look the other way and continue to profess that the emperor's clothes are grand. reacting to mr. trump's attacks on the press, president george w. bush responded and i quote, i consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. we need an independent media to hold people accountable. power can be very addictive and corrosive, and it's important for the media to hold to account people who abuse their power
whether it be here or elsewhere. end quote on president george w. bush's recent comment. president bush's prescription for democracy in 2017 is the same as the drafters of the first amendment in 1789. a free and independent and robust media is essential to democracy. and any broad-based attack on the press is an attack directly on our democracy. there's one thing president trump must understand. the press won't go away. they won't stop reporting on the actions he takes and on the decisions he makes. he can spend the next four years attacking the press, but they will still be there just like they were after nixon resigned. mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from alaskaa. mr.sullivan: madam president -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr.sullivan: i ask permission ha the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr.sullivan: every few weeks i have come to the senate tphrar to recognize a -- floor to recognize a special alaskan, someone who makes our state a better place for all of us. i call this person the alaskan of the week.
last week i recognized glen hanson who volunteers his time flying to what i refer to as the eythe -- ididarod air force. i know the pages were interested in the last great race. we had a winner. it's still going on, but one musher, mitt sevey, crossed the finish line in nome, alaska, in record time. it is a really tough race. iowans could do well in it, but not a lot of other americans. but today i want to take my colleagues and viewers to a very different place in alaska, about 1,300 miles southeast of nome
where all of the eye tkeud rod -- ididarod action is going on to catchacan, alaska. it is the last port city. this is and trip i encourage everybody to take. it is beautiful. flanked by the touring national -- towering national forest, it's a place full of life, spirit, mountains, forests, lots of rain, salmon, and lots of jaw-dropping scenery. like most places across our country, it has its challenges, and it has a challenge, like many communities in america and alaska, with homelessness. luckily, it is also home to a very caring community who have set their sights on helping their fellow alaskans.
one of these people is pastor evelyn every every -- everlee. she is copastor of the first united methodist church. this is a day shelter which provides a hot meal, shower, clean clothes, and a place for the community's homeless to go every day of the week. oftentimes when we think of homelessness, we think of people not having a place to sleep. but it's important to remember that being homeless means having no place to go during the day. first city homeless services day shelter gives people a place to go during the day. pastor he have -- evelyn oversees that day shelter. according to the manager of the shelter, chris avarado, she
does so with commitment, with kindness and with compassion. quote, she has a heart of gold and gives 100%, says one resident of ketchikan about evelyn. how she met her husband, terry, in sue ward, alaska, where she was a nurse in 1976. from seward they set out on a journey to help people around the world, nigeria, russia. now with a degree and ordained by the methodist church, she went up the alaskan highway from bellingham to ketchikan with her husband. she didn't know when she accepted a job at the methodist church in ketchikan as copastor she would be overseeing the day shelter. at first, according to her, the work was a bit unsettling. quote, i never intentionally
walked side by side with people who are homeless, she said. she continued, initially i may have been biased. i was using the word "them tion request "when i would describe the people i was working with. one day the lord said to me, evelyn, you are them. you are my child, no less or no more than they are. she said that after hearing that voice, she realized she wasn't working with them anymore. quote, i was working with men and women who were in a place that i easily could have been. in her years working to help the homeless in her community in ketchikan, she realized that not everybody who is homeless fits neatly into one basket. there are lots of reasons for homelessness, she said. and the homeless may have many, many faces. men, women, children, families, the old and the young. madam president, as you know,
homelessness is a big challenge across our nation. on any given day tens of thousands of americans, hundreds of thousands don't have a permanent place to call home. of course the best way to address this is to have a strong economy and job opportunities, and that's what we need to be focusing on here in the senate. but we also need people like pastor evelyn not only in alaska but across the country who are tireless advocates for helping the homeless. i want to thank all of them. i want to especially thank her and i want to thank her for being our alaskan of the week. madam president, i yield the floor. madam president, i have ten requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: without objection. duly noted.
mr. schumer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, since coming to office, the president's national security -- the president's national security counsel has experienced more turmoil than any in history at this stage in a presidency. theresident's first national security advisor and head of the
n.s.c., michael flynn, was fired after only a month in his position. the council itself has been reshaped in ways that concern all of us. permanent posting for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the director of national intelligence have been removed and a permanent seat has been installed for white house political advisor steve bannon. this reorganization is a disturbing and profound depar tour from past administrations. on the most sensitive matters of national security, the president should be relying on the informed counsel of members of the intelligence and military communities, not political advisors who made their careers running a white nationalist website. the chairman of the joint chiefs of of staff is the president's primary military advisered and along with that of the director of national intelligence is the only independent apolitical voice on the n.s.c.
president trump's move to strip them of their seats is baffling and potentially endangers our national security. the president has installed in a their stead one of the most strident, ideological voices in his orbit. on the most sensitive issues of national security, we have to have fact-based decisions. the president has to get the most dispassionate and accurate advice. in all due respect, that's not mr. bannon's forte. his installation on the principles list of the n.s.c. moves it further away from what it needs to be and closer towards a shadow counsel of dangerously ideological west wing. madam president, the bottom line is: the decision was poorly thought out and ill h.i.v. conceived t puts a filth on the information going to the president and will make us less safe. and my concerns are shared by members on both sides of the aisle.
i know that from conversations i've had with some. it has special relevance today because we're about to vote on reappointing h.r. mcmaster to lieutenant general, who will be the next head of the n.s.c. general mcmaster, by all accounts, will have a grounding presence in the national security apparatus of the white house. i met him. i have a great deal of respect for both his integrity and his abilities. but i remain deeply cornered that general mcmaster's judgment may not be followed and instead the fevered dreams of mr. bannon will influence the most sensitive national security discussions and decisions. it's been reported he doesn't want to see nato his or the european -- his or the european union -- exist or the european union. those are political decisions in the body that's charged with giving the president advice on security. so this should concern all of us, especially lieutenant general mcmasters. thank you, madam president.
mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. flake: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. flake: mr. president, as i did two weeks ago, and as i'll continue to do until he is confirmed, i rise to support the nomination of neil gorsuch to serve on the supreme court. judge gorsuch is an accomplished mainstream jurist, and i look forward to helping make sure that he receives an up-or-down vote here on the senate floor. now next week -- next week my colleagues and i on the judiciary committee will hold confirmation hearings on judge gorsuch. i look forward to hearing his testimony. i'm confident that he'll impress the country with his knowledge of and respect for the law, just as he has impressed me and my colleagues. but before the hearings get underway, i thought i'd use this opportunity today to
highlight an additional aspect of his life and his jurisprudence that make him an ideal nominee to serve on the high court. so far i've spoken on the floor about his fitness to fill justice scalia's seat as well as his defense of the separation of hours and his -- separation of powers and support for religious liberty. today i'd like to discuss a more personal aspect of judge gorsuch's background, the fact that he is a westerner. now as an arizonan, i cannot overstate how important it will be to have a fellow westerner serving on the supreme court. where you're from influences your understanding of and regional sensitivities when you look at the current makeup of the supreme court, there is an unmistakable lack of geographic diversity. of the eight current justices, five of them were born in new york or new jersey, and that number stood at six before judge
scalia's passing. now granted, justice kennedy is from northern california. but to be frank, much of northern california is about as culturally western as justice breyer's hometown of boston. the supreme court is in desperate need of a western perspective. judge gorsuch fits that bill. when i had the opportunity to meet judge gorsuch in my office last month, we discussed our respective western backgrounds. i talked to him about my days of growing up on a ranch in northern arizona. he told me that his heart has always been in the american west. you can learn a lot about a person by how they spend their time with their friends and their family. and there's no mistaking tt this aspect with judge gorsuch, hes a westerner through and through. he told me about his home outside of boulder where his daughters raise and show
chickens and colts. i was pleased to learn that each year he takes his law clerks to the national western stock show in denver, one of the nation's largest rodeos. and by now i think we've all seen the picture of him fly-fishing with judge scalia. while all of this demonstrates how much he has embraced the western lifestyle, what makes judge gorsuch a true westerner is more than just where he lives or where his personal interests are. judge gorsuch's western values are evident in his jurisprudence which reflects a strong commitment to public service. arizona has had its share of distinguished public servants. in fact, it was from this very desk that the late barry goldwater, one of arizona's favorite sons, steered the public policy debate for years after he chose to leave a successful career in the private sector. judge gorsuch's career reflects the same ethos.
early on a young neil gorsuch rocketed to the top of the legal profession becoming a partner in one of washington's most elite law firms. but instead of enjoying the comforts of a lucrative private-sector career, he left it all behind for a high high-responsibility, low-profile job at the department of justice. after his time at d.o.j., neil gorsuch could have easily retired or returned to a white shoe legal practice. instead he returned to his home state of colorado to serve as a judge on the u.s. court of appeals for the tenth circuit. throughout his tenure on the federal bench, judge gorsuch's western disposition has shown through in his jurisprudence. i've already spoken of his skepticism toward the administrative state with the executive -- with its executive bureaucracies. he cautions, quote, they swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power
and concentrate federal power in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the constitution of the framers' design. he shares a healthy skepticism over an overly intrusive and heavy-handed bureaucracy with millions of his federal westerners. judge gorsuch recognizes the, how federal regulations interfere with the ability of western states to govern themselves, whether it's the former administration's clean power plan, its ozone rules or even management of the mexican gray wolf. in numerous opinions, judge gorsuch has given voice to many of the frustrations experienc by his western neighbors. from his criticism of the overlily asserted d.c. court, he often feels compelled to intervene -- that often feels to intervene from 2,000 miles away to the recognition of the litigation that arises from the complexities of split estate
property rights out west, he speaks our language. these are perspectives any westerner is familiar with, but they may not be obvious to others, including folks from new york and new jersey. now if confirmed, judge gorsuch will already bring -- would already bring generational and religious diversity to the court, and perhaps more than anything it will be his western perspective that most enriches the debate in the years to come. as i have said before, judge gorsuch deserves fair consideration by those who serve in this body, and he deserves an up-or-down vote here on the senate floor. he should be confirmed overwhelmingly, and i'm confident that he will be. joining us on the floor today are several members of the senate from western states. i see that the senator from wyoming has joined us. i think he has some thoughts about neil gorsuch and his ascension to the court.
mr. barrasso: mr. president? mr. president, just in joining my colleague here on the floor in his colloquy, i agree with all of the comments that my colleague from arizona has made. it's interesting because the history of my colleague from arizona's state and his family history, judge gorsuch has a similar history to the point that his gat-grafather built a hotel in wyoming called the wolf hotel in saratoga, wyoming, and found a picture of that hotel from 1878, which was 12 years before wyoming became a state. and i tell my friend and colleague from arizona that i got that picture from the university of wyoming, the american history museum there, and got a copy of the picture and gave it to judge gorsuch. and the thing that was good, in front of the hotel in 1878, there was a stagecoach. six horses lined up ahead of it. the wolf hotel was a halfway
stop on the stagecoach line between a couple of communities in wyoming that were about 40 miles apart. so that's the heritage from which judge gorsuch comes. and i think that western heritage is important. i think additionally important is what my colleague referred to, is his judicial temperament , being such a mainstream member of the judiciary, and this general belief inherent within him that the role of a judge is to apply the law, not to legislate from the bench. and we have seen so much legislating from the bench. i think you just don't get that if you take somebody from the rocky mountain west who has this view of the nation and an understanding of the rule of law and the constitution. so i think we're going to see that when the senate judiciary committee begins its hearings in
the next week on judge gorsuch's nomination to the supreme court. they'll visit with him, review his writings and compare it to what i am saw when -- what i saw when justice scalia came to washington. i think you mentioned the picture of the two working together, fishing together, serving our -- i just think that he is the right person to continue that incredible legacy of justice scalia. mr. flake: will the gentleman yield? mr. barrasso: yes. mr. flake: you pointed out the sensitivities that come when you are from the west. you are working on the land and much of that land is either owned by or controlled by the federal government, the state government, or tribal governments in arizona's case. in fact, 85% of the state of
arizona is publicly owned. and so there -- when you live in the west and you work the land on a ranch or farm, you're dealing specifically with federal regulators and federal property managers, and those who are raised in the west and have lived here, i think, understand that the impact of the federal government's decisions, the administrative state, has an outside impact on those who live in the west. and i think that that is evident in the jurisprudence that you see from judge gorsuch. and how much of wyoming is publicly owned? mr. barrasso: well, it is about 50 ey--well, it is about , mr. president. it is very dramatic and can be very punishing, as we've seen over the last eight years with recommends that have come out of -- with regulations that have come out of agencies.
i. sometimes i believe in defiance of the law. that's why i think it is critical to have gorsuch on the supreme court because he is someone who realizes that the constitution is a legal document, not a living document, not built for flexibility but really a rigid legal document, and that is where i believe he stands. that's what his writings indicate. and it is the sort of thing we have seen from him. visited with him, other members have done -- these are the things that we read about, though with regard to his writings over the years. this is a judge who has faithfully applied the law -- applied the law, focusing on the constitution. now, he's not been afraid to rule against the government or for unpopular parties when the law demands it, because he's going to go right back to the law. i believe his opinions show great reverence for all of the constitution, a keen respect for the importance of the separation of powers. i support his nomination
completely. and it's interesting because when he was nominated for the position he currently holds, the democrat senator from colorado -- and i'm expecting the senator, cory gardner, to be near a little bit to talk about the quote from the -- from ken salazar, the former senator from colorado who talked about what a great man judge gorsuch was and should be put 0en that bench. as the only citizen from the rocky mountain west who would be on the court, i would support him no matter his belief because it is the role of a judge and a justice to apply the law, not to rule from the bench.
i would tell you mr. president, his background combined with his philosophy -- mainstream approach to the law -- is exactly with a we need now in 022017. i believe he deserves an up-or-down vote. i believe he will be confidence as people get a chance to know him. i am joined on the floor by another colleague from the rocky mountain west, the senator from montana. you have heard from arizona, wyoming you and now montana. i would ask him about his thoughts about this nomination by president trump and neil gorsuch for the supreme court. the presiding officer: is not senator from montana. mr. daines: i want to thank senator barrasso and his comments. and he shares many of the same views i have. as i think about the job that i do as united states senator, perhaps one of the most important jobs we have as a senator is approving a supreme
court justice. an associate justice for the supreme court can serve an average of 27 years. we think about justice scalia. he served 30 years. neil gorsuch is 49 years old. god willing, he probably will serve 30 years or more perhaps. i think about that. my wife and i have four children. they're going through their college years and so forth. they're in their early to mid-40's. that's why a decision like this about who to vote forks who to stand behind, who to stand with is so important. this is for our children and our grandchildren. the people want a supreme court justice who does not legislate from the bench. the people want a supreme court justice who upholds the rule of law and follows the constitution. the people want a supreme court justice with a record of constitutional jurisprudence and
legal restraint to match what we saw from justice antonin scalia. the people want a supreme court justice who is well-prepared to serve the american people on the highest court to wrestle some of the most complicated issues that the high court wrestles with. when president trump announced that he was appointing neil gorsuch to the supreme court, the american people knew he was truly a supreme pick. he has a brilliant legal mind. he understands the role a judge plays in our judicial system. to interpret the law and not to legislate from the bench. in fact, on the night he wasst nnounced --'s a nnounced when president trump revealed his pick, i was at the white house and i heard him say -- judge gorsuch -- and i quote, a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands. that's the humility of a great judge. judge gorsuch has impeccable
legal qualifications that demonstrate he will be the type of justice that every american deserves to be on the highest court. he graduated from harvard law school. he was a harry truman scholar, graduated with honors in 1991. he earned his law degree, attended then oxford university at a marshal scholar and received his doctorate degree in 2004 in oxford. as we say out west, and as a montanan, i got to say i'm thrilled to see somebody from colorado be nominated for the supreme court. as we say out west, go get a good education and then get over it. and he brings that kind of humility to the bench. he understands that he is beneath the law. he's there to interpret the law, not to make the law. he's clerked for justice kennedy of the supreme court of the united states. he was nominated by then-president bus to the tenth
circuit in denver, colorado. he was confirmed without any opposition, including the support of 11 current democratic united states senators. in fact, some of those democrats included harvard law classmate barack obama, vice president joe biden, and the current minority leader chuck schumer. during his time as a judge on the 10th circuit, he has built a solid reputation as a respected jurist with a very respected record. one thing about serving on the 10th circuit court for ten years, you can run but you can't hide. he has left a track record. it is an impressive track record. it is a consistent record of defending the constitution, including respecting the separation of powers, respecting federalism, and the bill of rights to protect every american from government overreach and government abuse. when i had the opportunity to sit down with judge gorsuch, it was back in early february. we spoke about the role of government and federalism. we spoke about the second
amendment. we spoke about protecting life and upholding our civil liberties. we spoke about our shared western values -- mine as a native montanan, his as a native coloradan. both of us are westerners. i know he understands our way of life. he understands montana values. in fact, his face litter up as we talked -- lit up as we talked about the love of the outdoors and his passion for hiking and fishing. as chairman of the western caucus, it is important to me to have someone who understands western values. someone who understands the impact of the law and his decisions will have on the wes. as western,we fight to protect our fourth amendment rights. we champion federalism so that power, not expressly given to the federal government in the constitution, is returned back to the states and to the people. we will tirelessly fight to protect the second amendment. these are western values. and, by the way, the second
amendment -- that's not primarily about hunting. our founding fathers were not thinking about deer hunting or elk hunting when discussing the second amendment of it was about liberty. it was about freedom. these a western values. and judge gorsuch's background and record strongly suggests that he recognizes and adheres to these values. he will uphold the law. he will rightfully check the administration. like president obama's e.p.a. power plan or the wotus rule, these are actions that cripple western economies and they are politically charged. i'd also like to mention that senator cory gardner and i were just at a white house meeting an houring a. we were at the white house meeting with over a dozen tribes who represent hunks -- hundreds of other tribes. we were there to discuss our support for neil gorsuch for
consortium i can tell you it was great to be there with one of my hometown tribes from montana, the c.s.k.t. they have endorsed neil gorsuch. they understand that we need a mainstream, commonsense westerner on the some of the by the way, when you look at the neil gorsuch's record on indian country issues, a as a message of the 10th circuit court for ten years, he has a track record of ruling on some very complicated issues that face indian country. he understands sovereignty. that's very important. that's why you're seeing tribes endorsing judge gorsuch. more importantly, the american people deserve nine members on the supreme court. neil gorsuch is the mainstream judge the american people want and deserve to fill out the court. i'm looking forward to what will happen next week in those hearings. you're going to see a very, very bright, a very, very thoughtful,
a very, very kind, a very, very humble jurist who again understands and upholds the rule of law. i'm excited for our country that we have such a phenomenal nominee, and i look forward to casting my vote to confirm him to the highest court the in our great country. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: