McConnell on Gorsuch: Not Too Late for Our Democratic Colleagues to Make the Right Choice
‘It now seems apparent that this well-qualified and widely-respected judge will be subject to the first successful partisan filibuster in the history of the Senate. This is a new low, but not entirely surprising, given that the Democratic Leader announced before the nomination was even made that it was hard for him to imagine a nominee this president would nominate that he could support.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch:
“This week is an important one for the American people, for the Supreme Court, and for the Senate. The Judiciary Committee just reported out Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, the next step is considering this Supreme Court nominee before the full Senate.
“It was unfortunate to see our Democratic colleagues on the Committee break with recent precedent and not support this clearly well-qualified and widely respected Supreme Court nominee. I would remind colleagues that in addition to simply agreeing to an up-or-down vote on their nominations on the Senate floor, Republicans offered each of the last four, first-term Supreme Court nominees of Democratic Presidents Clinton and Obama at least some bipartisan support in the committee votes. Judge Gorsuch is no less qualified than those four nominees of Presidents Clinton and Obama, and it’s disappointing he didn’t get the same sort of bipartisan support in committee today.
“It now seems apparent that this well-qualified and widely-respected judge will be subject to the first successful partisan filibuster in the history of the Senate. This is a new low, but not entirely surprising, given that the Democratic Leader announced before the nomination was even made that it was hard for him to imagine a nominee this resident would nominate that he could support. He even went so far then as to say that he would be willing to fight the nomination ‘tooth-and-nail’ and might even ‘keep the seat open’ in perpetuity.
“But it’s not too late for our Democratic colleagues to make the right choice. This week the Senate will continue to debate Judge Gorsuch’s nomination on the floor. This is a matter of great importance, which is why we’re planning to dedicate this week’s floor time almost entirely to continued robust debate of this nomination rather than double-tracking it with legislative items as has been done in the past.
“Already several members from both sides of the aisle have come to the floor, day after day, to offer their viewpoints on Judge Gorsuch. I would encourage Members to take advantage of this time to continue discussing his excellent credentials, judicial background, and broad support from across the political spectrum. Let me remind colleagues of the many ways in which Judge Gorsuch has shown himself to be an outstanding nominee to serve on the High Court.
“Judge Gorsuch was unanimously confirmed to his current position as a federal judge. Not a single Democrat opposed him then, including Senators Obama, Clinton, Biden, Leahy…and Schumer. He’s participated in more than 2,700 cases since then. He’s been in the majority 99% of the time. He’s enjoyed the unanimous support of his fellow judges 97% of the time.
“The American Bar Association — a group the Democratic Leader calls the ‘gold standard’ for evaluating judicial nominations — awarded him its highest possible rating. He’s also amassed a wide array of supporters — including Democrats and Republicans, current and former colleagues, the legal community and editorial boards all across the nation. They say Gorsuch is eminently well-qualified. As Judge John Kane, a Carter appointee, put it, ‘I’m not sure we could expect better [than Judge Gorsuch], or that better presently exists.’
“They say that Gorsuch is independent. Neal Katyal, President Obama’s former acting Solicitor General, said he has ‘no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help to restore confidence in the rule of law’ because Gorsuch’s ‘years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence.’
“They say Gorsuch is fair and impartial. The Denver Post editorial board noted that ‘Gorsuch is a brilliant legal mind and talented writer whom observers praise for his ability to apply the law fairly and consistently... [W]e appreciate his desire to strictly interpret the Constitution,’ the paper continued, ‘based on the intent of our nation’s founders, even when those rulings might contradict his personal beliefs.’
“And they say Gorsuch is highly revered by Democrats and Republicans. As USA Today noted in its editorial endorsing Gorsuch’s confirmation today, ‘he has gotten an array of glowing references, including from some Democrats and liberals.’ I mentioned some this morning. There are many more.
“Here’s just one additional example of how praise for Judge Gorsuch has bridged the political divide. Despite their ideological differences, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter — a Democrat — and former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers — a Republican — agree that Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed. They said, ‘Gorsuch’s temperament, personal decency and qualifications are beyond dispute.’ ‘It is time,’ they concluded, ‘to use this confirmation process to examine and exalt the characteristics of a judge who demonstrates that he or she is scholarly, compassionate, committed to the law, and will function as part of a truly independent, apolitical judiciary. Judge Gorsuch fits that bill.’
“It reminds us of what David Frederick, a board member of the left-leaning American Constitution Society and longtime Democrat, recently said, ‘The Senate should confirm [Gorsuch] because there is no principled reason to vote no.’ There is ‘no principled reason,’ this longtime Democrat said, ‘to vote no.’ He’s absolutely right.
“So it goes without saying that there’s no principled reason to block an up-or-down vote on this supremely qualified nominee either. I look forward to joining with my Senate colleagues in supporting Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court this week.”
Related Issues: Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Nominations