Judge Gorsuch Has a Record of Building Consensus

‘Judge Gorsuch has ruled in more than 2,700 cases. He’s been in the majority on 99 percent. And 97 percent have been unanimous decisions.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch:

“Last week, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch came before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing. His testimony reaffirmed what we already know about Judge Gorsuch — he’s fair and impartial, he has an outstanding legal mind, and he’s humble and well-respected.

“He also has a record of building consensus. Here’s what he said about that record at his hearing.

“‘I have decided… over 2,700 cases, and my law clerks tell me that 97 percent of them have been unanimous, 99 percent I've been in the majority. They tell me as well,’ he continued, ‘that according to the Congressional Research Service, my opinions have attracted the fewest number of dissents from my colleagues of anyone I've served with that they studied over the last 10 years.’

“Let me repeat that. Judge Gorsuch has ruled in more than 2,700 cases. He’s been in the majority on 99 percent. And 97 percent have been unanimous decisions.

“It’s no wonder the American Bar Association — an organization that the Democratic Leader and the former Democratic Judiciary Chairman have called the ‘gold standard’ — gave Judge Gorsuch its highest rating, unanimously ‘Well Qualified.’ 

“It noted, ‘[b]ased on the writings, interviews, and analyses we scrutinized to reach our rating, we discerned that Judge Gorsuch believes strongly in the independence of the judicial branch of government, and we predict that he will be a strong but respectful voice in protecting it.’

“The ABA isn’t alone in its support for Judge Gorsuch. In fact, people from across the political spectrum have sung his praises — including many on the Left that you might not expect.  People “like Professor Laurence Tribe, former President Obama’s legal mentor, who called Gorsuch ‘a brilliant, terrific guy who would do the Court’s work with distinction,’ and Neal Katyal, former President Obama’s top Supreme Court lawyer, who called him ‘one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last century.’

“Liberal law professors, including Alan Dershowitz, who said Gorsuch would be ‘hard to oppose on the merits,’ and Donald Elliot, who called him ‘a brilliant mind’ who ‘tries very hard to get the law right… [and] follows the law as best as he can wherever it might lead.’  And at his confirmation hearing last week, we heard from former and current colleagues on the federal bench who enthusiastically support his nomination. These are federal judges who know him well. 

“Judge John Kane, who was appointed to the district court in Colorado by President Carter, wrote that Judge Gorsuch has voted both to affirm and reverse his decisions. ’In each instance,’ he remarked, ‘I have felt I was clearly understood and properly informed.’ He goes on to say, ‘I think Judge Gorsuch listens well and decides justly. His dissents are instructive rather than vitriolic. In sum, I think he is an excellent judicial craftsman.’    

“Former colleagues on the Tenth Circuit testified last week on his behalf as well. Two former Chief Judges of that circuit, one appointed by President Reagan and another appointed by President Clinton, have written that Judge Gorsuch was, ‘like most good judges, assiduously attentive to the facts and law in each case.’

“Judges Deanell Tacha and Robert Henry went on to say that if Judge Gorsuch were confirmed to the Supreme Court, his other important traits are not likely to change either, things like ‘his fair consideration of opposing views, his remarkable intelligence, his wonderful judicial temperament expressed to litigants and his collegiality toward colleagues.’ 

“They conclude by saying ‘[i]f we seek to confirm to the Supreme Court a noted intellect, a collegial colleague, and [a] gifted and eloquent writer – as well as a person of exhibited judicial temperament – Gorsuch fits that bill. He represents the best of the judicial tradition in our country.’    

“Perhaps David Frederick, a board member of the Left-leaning American Constitution Society, best summed up why the Senate should confirm Judge Gorsuch. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, he praised Judge Gorsuch for his ‘reverence for our country’s values and legal system.’ Mr. Frederick states that, ‘The facts developed in a case matter to him; the legal rules established by legislatures and through precedent deserve deep respect; and the importance of treating litigants, counsel and colleagues with civility is deeply ingrained in him.’

“Therefore, this self-proclaimed ‘longtime supporter of Democratic candidates and progressive causes,’ said that ‘[t]he Senate should confirm [Gorsuch] because there is no principled reason to vote no.’  Let me repeat that. ‘The Senate should confirm him,’ he said, ‘because there is no principled reason to vote no.’

“Unfortunately, some of our Democratic colleagues are trying desperately to find any excuse to block his nomination. Although this is unfortunate, it is not surprising. Recall that the Democratic Leader stated before Judge Gorsuch was even nominated that he would oppose any person on the president’s long list of qualified candidates — even if it meant keeping the seat open for years. 

“Look, we know that our Democratic friends are under an enormous amount of pressure from some on the Far Left who want them to ‘resist.’ It’s clear that many radical special interest groups simply refuse to accept the results of the election and would like nothing more than to obstruct the serious work before the Senate. We saw the impact that had on the Cabinet confirmation process, which represented a historic level of obstruction. We’re seeing the same calls for obstruction now.

“This much is clear: if our Democratic colleagues choose to hold up this nominee, then they’re acknowledging that they’ll go to any length to block any Supreme Court nominee of a Republican President.  This isn’t about the nominee at all. It isn’t about his background. It isn’t about his temperament. It isn’t about his reputation as a judge either. It’s about those on the Far Left who want to prevent our country from moving forward.

“Judge Gorsuch’s suitability for the appellate court was so non-controversial that not a single Senate Democrat opposed his nomination — not then-Senator Obama, nor then-Senators Biden, Clinton or Kennedy, not even my good friend the Democratic Leader — and there’s no reason Judge Gorsuch shouldn’t receive similarly overwhelming bi-partisan support now.

“This is an important moment for our country. I urge each of my colleagues to rise to the moment and work together to move forward with the confirmation of our next Supreme Court Justice, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and give him the up-or-down vote that he deserves.”