McConnell Receives Distinguished Leader Award at Susan B. Anthony List Annual Gala
‘You lend your voices to the voiceless. You help inform millions of Americans and make their values manifest. This work starts with deep convictions. Convictions that come from science, and from faith, and from the moral bedrock that supports our civilization. But it also takes effective advocacy, strategic savvy, and political understanding. That powerful combination is SBA List in a nutshell.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) received the Distinguished Leader Award at last night’s 12th Annual Susan B. Anthony List Gala. The following are Leader McConnell’s remarks as delivered:
“Thank you very much, all of you. Particularly Diane and Marjorie for all you’ve done and for having me here tonight. I deeply appreciate this honor. Look, it’s always good to be with friends and fellow travelers. And we’ve shared especially exciting times over the past couple years. It’s exciting when we have a White House that has blocked Planned Parenthood from sucking up millions of dollars in taxpayer money under the guise of family planning. It was exciting two years ago, when Republicans in Congress permanently repealed the Obama Administration rule that had forced states to make similar grants.
“It is an exciting time in the Senate when we’re putting common-sense legislation like the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on the floor – and making radical Democrats who oppose these common-sense policies own their extremism out in the light of day. You better believe it’s exciting to lead a United States Senate that is working day after day, week after week, month after month – as you’ve heard before tonight -- to confirm President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on our federal courts. I’ll say more about that in just a minute. But first I need to say a few words about the leadership that makes all this possible.
“Noble causes deserve great leaders. And that is just what we have in Susan B. Anthony List and a visionary like Marjorie. She’s fabulous. She and your organization literally defend the defenseless. You lend your voices to the voiceless. You help inform millions of Americans and make their values manifest. This work starts with deep convictions. Convictions that come from science, and from faith, and from the moral bedrock that supports our civilization. But it also takes effective advocacy, strategic savvy, and political understanding. That powerful combination is SBA List in a nutshell.
“From the early years, when Marjorie was running this organization from her living room. To the present day – look at this room -- where you’re one of the most powerful change-making organizations in the entire country. All along, you have combined passion and perseverance with strategic vision. And now the entire nation is watching your work pay off.
“I’ve always believed the single most powerful way the U.S. Senate can positively impact the country’s future is through our role in confirming lifetime appointments to the federal courts. And as Senate Majority Leader, I’m happy to be in a position to do something about it. The one thing I get to do that the other 99 don’t get it do, is decide what we’re going to do. Obviously that was on full display when I decided not to fill the Scalia vacancy. But I want to credit my colleagues for backing me up, I don’t want to take sole credit for that. They took a lot of heat for it and it paid off. That also applies to calling judges up. As you can imagine, there are a lot of people who want their bills called up, they want this or that called up.
“But what I’ve done, is prioritize lifetime appointments first. And that is because I think that’s the way we have the longest impact on our country, and the most positive way into the future. You know, I thought I was on pretty firm ground on the Scalia decision. You would have had to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a Senate of a different party from the president confirmed a Supreme Court justice to a vacancy created in a presidential year. I knew darn good and well that if the shoe was on the other foot they would have been doing the same thing. But it was interesting to watch them whine.
“And after the American people made their decision, President Trump made his, nominating an outstanding successor to Justice Scalia’s seat. He could not have picked a better nominee than Neil Gorsuch. And oh yes, you remember that other nominee for the Supreme Court we had last year. You didn’t miss it. It kind of flew under the radar screen, nobody even said anything about it. Obviously I’m kidding. We ended up voting on more than one man’s career. We were voting on basic American principles of fairness and justice. Does the presumption of innocence still apply in America? Yes.
“And as you’ve heard earlier tonight, there are 41 circuit court confirmations, right below the Supreme Court. You know, not many cases make it all the way to the Supreme Court. To put that in context, that’s about one in five of the Courts of Appeals judges nationwide have now been appointed by this president and confirmed by this Senate in two and a half years. And I want you to know that my view is, there will be no vacancies left behind. None.
“What do these men and women have in common? They are talented, brilliant, and young. Young. And what do they believe in? The quaint notion that maybe a judge ought to follow the law. You wouldn’t think that’d be controversial, would you? But that’s what they believe in. Justice Scalia used to say you’re not a very good judge if you’re not occasionally uncomfortable with the outcome you reach because it’s not your personal opinion. He used to say if you want to make policy, why don’t you run for office? That’s not what we do. Justice Gorsuch said judges don’t wear red robes or blue robes, they wear black robes. That’s the kind of men and women the president’s been sending up.
“These victories are already paying early dividends. They will keep paying dividends for decades to come. Really, for a generation or more. And these accomplishments would not exist without the efforts of citizens like every one of you in this room. So once again, for this Distinguished Leader Award -- but even more, for all of your work, on the causes we share and the battles we fight together -- I want my final words this evening to be: thank you very much.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court