McConnell: Judge Gorsuch Has a Stellar Reputation and a Resume to Match
‘Like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch understands the constitutional limits of his authority. He understands that a judge’s duty is to apply the law even-handedly, without bias toward one party or another. He understands that his role as a judge is to interpret the law, not impose his own viewpoint or political leanings. He’s also been recognized from people on both sides of the aisle as a consistent, principled, and fair jurist.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch:
“Last night President Trump announced an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado. While Judge Gorsuch has a significant legacy to live up to as the nominee for the seat left vacant by the loss of Justice Scalia, I’m confident his impressive background and long record of service will prepare him well for the task ahead.
“Like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch understands the constitutional limits of his authority. He understands that a judge’s duty is to apply the law even-handedly, without bias toward one party or another. He understands that his role as a judge is to interpret the law, not impose his own viewpoint or political leanings. He’s also been recognized from people on both sides of the aisle as a consistent, principled, and fair jurist.
“Judge Gorsuch has a stellar reputation and a resume to match, with degrees from Harvard and Columbia, a PhD in Legal Philosophy from Oxford, and just about every honor, award, and scholarship you can possibly imagine.
“When he graduated from law school, Judge Gorsuch didn’t just clerk for one Supreme Court justice, he clerked for two. They were justices nominated by presidents of different political parties: Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, and Byron White, who was nominated by JFK. Judge Gorsuch received a ‘unanimously well qualified’ rating by the American Bar Association when he was nominated to his current position on the Court of Appeals — and he was confirmed without any votes in opposition.
“That’s right Madame President. Not a single Democrat opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation. Not Senator Barack Obama. Not Senator Hillary Clinton. Not Senators Joe Biden or Ted Kennedy. In fact, not a single one of the Democrats who still serve with us opposed him — including the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Feinstein, and the Democratic Leader himself, Senator Schumer. In the coming days, I hope and expect that all Senate colleagues will again give him fair consideration, just as we did for the nominees of newly-elected Presidents Clinton and Obama.
“This is a judge who’s known for deciding cases based on how the law is actually written, not how he wishes it were written, even when it leads to results that conflict with his own political beliefs. He understands that his role as a judge is to interpret the law, not impose his own viewpoint. Here’s how Judge Gorsuch put it himself: ’[A] judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.’
“Now, some of our colleagues and some others on the Left see the role of a judge very differently. In last year’s presidential debates, our former colleague Secretary Clinton stated her view that a Supreme Court justice, now listen to this, ought to look more favorably on certain political constituencies than others — that it was the job of the Supreme Court to ‘stand on the side’ of this group or another over that one.
“Some of our current colleagues seem to share this view. The Assistant Democratic Leader said that what’s important to him are the political views of a Supreme Court nominee — what, or perhaps who, they are going to ‘stand for.’ The problem with that approach, Madame President, is that it’s great if you happen to be the party in the case who the judge likes. It’s not so great if you’re the other guy.
“Justice Scalia believed this to his very core. He was an eloquent champion of the Constitution who was guided by important principles, like applying the law equally to all, giving every litigant a fair shake, ruling based on the actual meaning of our Constitution and our laws, not what you or your preferred political constituency wish they meant. These principles helped guide Justice Scalia for many years, and the record of Judge Gorsuch indicates that he will continue his legacy of fair and impartial justice.
“Now, of course, that doesn’t much matter to some on the Far Left. Despite his sterling credentials and bipartisan support, some on the Far Left decided to oppose Judge Gorsuch before he was even nominated. We already know what they’ll say about him as well. It’s the same things they’ve been saying about every Republican nominee for more than four decades.
“They said Gerald Ford’s nominee, John Paul Stevens ‘revealed an extraordinary lack of sensitivity to the problems women face...’ They said Reagan’s nominee, Anthony Kennedy was a ‘sexist,’ who ‘would be a disaster for women.’ And they said George H.W. Bush’s nominee, David Souter was a threat to ‘women, minorities, dissenters, and other disadvantaged groups.’
“So it’s not terribly surprising that they would say it again this time. What is disappointing is that leading Democrats in the Senate would adopt the same rhetoric. The ink was not even dry on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination when the Democratic Leader proclaimed that Judge Gorsuch had, you guessed it, ‘demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights.’
“I hope our colleagues will stick to the facts this time around. We know that Justice Scalia’s seat on the court does not belong to any president or any political party. It belongs to the American people. When it became vacant in the middle of a contentious presidential election, we followed the rule set down by Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic Leader Senator Schumer, which says that Supreme Court vacancies arising in the midst of a presidential election should not be considered until the campaign ends. It’s the same rule, by the way, that President Obama’s own legal counsel admitted she would have recommended had the shoe been on the other foot.
“I’ve been consistent all along that the next president — Democrat or Republican — should select the next nominee for the Supreme Court. I maintained that view even when many thought that President would be Hillary Clinton. But now the election season is over. And we have a new president who has nominated a superbly qualified candidate to fill that ninth seat.
“I would invite Democrats, who spent many months insisting ‘we need nine,’ to join us in following through on that advice by giving the new president’s nominee fair consideration and an up-or-down vote — just as we did for past presidents of both parties.”
Related Issues: Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Nominations