Judge Gorsuch ‘Understands The West’

SEN. GARDNER: He’s ‘Somebody Who Understands The West, Our Water Laws … Our Resources Laws, Somebody Who Understands Indian Laws’

SEN. BENNET (D-CO): ‘As A Person And As A Lawyer, Judge Gorsuch Exemplifies Some Of The Finest Qualities Of Colorado’

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): “Judge Gorsuch is a fourth generation Coloradan, skier, fly fisher, serving on a court that represents 20 percent of our nation's landmass; whose family roots reflect the grit and determination that built the West. Once confirmed, Mr. Gorsuch will join Justice Byron White and be the -- only the second Coloradan to have served on the United States Supreme Court.” (U.S. Senate, Judiciary Committee, Hearing, 3/20/17)

  • GARDNER: Judge Gorsuch “does have the fact that he’s a fourth generation Coloradan, avid flyfisher, expert skier, somebody who understands the west, our water laws, somebody who understands our resources laws, somebody who understands Indian laws, and somebody who’s going to be a guardian of the Constitution and interpret the law – not try to make the law.” (“Cory Gardner Talks To 9NEWS About Neil Gorsuch Hearings,” 9News, 3/20/17)

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “[I]t's a distinct privilege to be here with my colleague Senator Gardner from Colorado to introduce Judge Neil Gorsuch a son of Colorado, born and raised in Denver with a distinguished record of public service, private practice and outstanding integrity and intellect. … His experience and his approach to his work has earned him the respect of the bench and the bar in our state. Judge Gorsuch's family has deep roots in Colorado. His Grandfather grew up in an Irish Tenement in Denver and began supporting the family at the age of eight. His other grandfather was a lawyer who worked his way through law school serving as a street car conductor in Denver. His grandmother was one of the first women to graduate University of Denver in the 1920's. As a person and as a lawyer, Judge Gorsuch exemplifies some of the finest qualities of Colorado. A state filled with people who are kind to one another, who by and large do not share the ceit that one party or one ideology is all right and the other is all wrong. And who are conscious of the legacy we owe the generations who forged our state out of a Western territory of the United States. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch will be the first justice since Sandra Day O'Connor from the west.”(Sen. Bennet, Testimony, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 3/20/2017)

FORMER GOV. BILL RITTER (D-CO): ‘Gorsuch Is A Worthy Successor To Colorado’s Last Supreme Court Justice, Byron White’

FORMER GOV. BILL RITTER (D-CO) & FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN SUTHERS (R-CO): “…[Judge] Gorsuch is a worthy successor to Colorado’s last Supreme Court justice, Byron White, for whom Gorsuch once clerked. Gorsuch’s temperament, personal decency and qualifications are beyond dispute…. It is time 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.” (Bill Ritter And John Suthers, Op-Ed, “Ritter And Suthers: Senate Should Confirm Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination To Supreme Court,” The Denver Post, 3/15/2017)

SEN. FLAKE: ‘I Cannot Overstate How Important It Will Be To Have A Fellow Westerner Serving On The Supreme Court’

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ): “As an Arizonan, I cannot overstate how important it will be to have a fellow westerner serving on the Supreme Court… the sensitivities that you have when you come from the West. A lot of it has to do with, if you are in a rural area in particular, you are--as my family grew up--working on the land. 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 percent of the State of Arizona is publicly owned. So when you live in the West and you work the land on a ranch or farm, you are dealing specifically with Federal regulators and Federal property managers. I think those who were raised in the West and have lived here understand the impact of the Federal Government's decisions. The administrative state has an outsized impact on those who live in the West, and I think that is evident in the jurisprudence you see from Judge Gorsuch.” (Sen. Flake, Congressional Record, S. 1822, 3/15/2017)

SEN. STEVE DAINES (R-MT): “[A]s a Montanan, I have to say I am thrilled to see somebody from Colorado be nominated for the Supreme Court. 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 is subject to the law. He is there to interpret the law, not to make the law…. During his time as a judge on the Tenth Circuit, he has built a solid reputation as a respected jurist with a very distinguished record.” (Sen. Daines, Congressional Record, S. 1823, 3/15/2017)

  • SEN. DAINES: “[W]hen you look at Neil Gorsuch's record on Indian Country issues, as a member of the Tenth Circuit Court for 10 years, he has a track record of ruling on some very complicated issues that face Indian Country. He understands sovereignty. That is very important. That is why you are seeing Tribes endorsing Judge Gorsuch.” (Sen. Daines, Congressional Record, S. 1823, 3/15/2017)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): “I think that western heritage is important. But I think that additionally important 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.” (Sen. Barrasso, Congressional Record, S. 1822, 3/15/2017)

  • SEN. BARRASSO: “I have full confidence in Judge Gorsuch as a son of the West, as the only Justice from the Rocky Mountain West who would be on the Court. Specifically, though, I would support him no matter where he was from because of his belief that it is the role of a judge and a justice to apply the law, not to legislate from the bench, which I think goes above and beyond where someone is from, what their background may be. But I will just tell you that his background, combined with his philosophy and mainstream approach to the law, is exactly what we need now in 2017 on the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Sen. Barrasso, Congressional Record, S. 1822, 3/15/2017)

WESTERN OFFICIALS: ‘The Selection Of Judge Gorsuch Is A Home Run’

“The Garfield County [Colorado] Commission also approved a letter of support for Gorsuch, who now sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver…. The Garfield County Commission said it hoped that the high court could aid in improving relationships between federal agencies and local governments. ‘We believe Judge Gorsuch will bring practical, common-sense decision making founded on western ideals to Washington, D.C.,’ the commission’s letter said.” (“GJ Attorneys Urge A Vote On Gorsuch,” The [Grand Junction, CO] Daily Sentinel, 3/10/2017)

MONTANA JUDGE RUSSELL FAGG: “Judge Gorsuch believes judges should follow the law, not make it. That policy decisions are up to Congress, not Courts…. Importantly for Montanans, Gorsuch is a fellow Westerner. In the end analysis, I believe the selection of Judge Gorsuch is a home run. He will make an excellent Supreme Court justice and should be confirmed without delay.” (Judge Russell Fagg, “Gorsuch Good Choice For U.S. Supreme Court,” Montana Standard, 3/07/2017)

‘Judge Gorsuch Has Been Very Instrumental In Protecting Tribal Sovereignty’

BRUCE IGNACIO, Ute Tribe Council Representative: “Judge Gorsuch has been very instrumental in protecting tribal sovereignty.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“…Gorsuch is seen by Indian law experts as more informed on tribal law than were many of Trump’s other potential nominees …” (“Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch for US Supreme Court,” Indian Country Media Network, 2/01/2017)

  • “He has also been pro-tribe in at least one recent Indian law case he has presided over. In a 2015 ruling, he strongly rebuked Utah state and county officials for long challenging the Ute Tribe’s sovereignty ‘Indeed, the harm to tribal sovereignty in this case is perhaps as serious as any to come our way in a long time,’ Gorsuch wrote, referring to the prosecution of Lesa Jenkins, an Ute citizen, who the tribe claimed was racially profiled. He ultimately ruled that state court prosecutions of tribal citizens for offenses committed on tribal lands ‘strongly suggest[ed]’ county officials in eastern Utah were involved in ‘a renewed campaign to undo the tribal boundaries [already] settled’ by higher courts.” (“Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch for US Supreme Court,” Indian Country Media Network, 2/01/2017)

RICHARD J. PETERSON, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska President: “I am writing on behalf of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, a federally recognized tribal government, to indicate our support for prompt confirmation by the U.S. Senate of the president’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Central Council Tlingit Haida has reviewed Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudential record and has concluded that his decisions evidence respect for tribal sovereignty, self-government, and territorial authority.” (Richard J. Peterson, President, Central Council of Tlingit And Haida Indian Tribes Of Alaska, Letter To Sens. Murkowski And Sullivan, 3/16/2017)

CONFEDERATED SALISH & KOOTENAI TRIBES: “The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are pleased to see that President Trump has nominated a judge who understands Indian law and the needs of Indian Country. CSKT has joined other tribes and tribal leaders across the country in sharing our strong desire that the United States Senate confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.” (“Tribes Announce Support For U.S. Supreme Court Nominee,” Lake County [Montana] Leader, 3/03/2017)

“Hundreds of attendees of the winter session of the National Congress of American Indians fell to a hush as Ignacio explained how his tribe has been fighting encroachments by state and local officials in Utah for decades. Gorsuch, as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has rebuffed those efforts with strong and striking opinions that have safeguarded his people's homelands, he said.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“Aaron Payment, the chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, was equally impressed with Gorsuch's record, which includes favorable rulings on Indian religious freedom and the federal trust responsibility. He said no other nominee to the nation's highest court has been as well versed with Indian law as Trump's pick. ‘Even though there have been some justices on the Supreme Court that have been favorable, in the end, they had to get there,’ Payment said. Judge Gorsuch, on the other hand, is already there when it comes to sovereignty and other key issues, he said. ‘I'm excited about it,’ Payment said of the possibility that Gorsuch can ‘educate’ his colleagues about those issues should he be confirmed as a justice.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“Gorsuch joined the 10th Circuit in 2006 and quickly showed signs of his willingness to learn about Indian Country. He attended a[National Congress of American Indians] event in 2007 and John EchoHawk, the executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, believes that put the judge on a path that sets him apart from others on the federal bench. ‘As far as anyone Trump could have nominated,’ EchoHawk said at NCAI, ‘I don't think he could have come up with anybody much better than Judge Gorsuch.’” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)

“John Dossett, NCAI's general counsel, pointed out that Gorsuch listed Yellowbear v. Lampert as one of the 10 most significant cases of his career. In a January 2014 decision, the judge concluded that state prison officials in Wyoming were wrong to deny Andrew Yellowbear, a citizen of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, access to a sweat lodge. ‘Judge Gorsuch has a very good track record,’ Dossett said.” (“Tribes Find Common Ground With Donald Trump On Supreme Court Nominee,” Indianz.com, 2/17/2017)


Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations, Supreme Court