[Pages S554-S561]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the nomination.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of 
Elisabeth Prince DeVos, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Education.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.

                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I send a cloture motion to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination 
     of Elisabeth Prince DeVos, of Michigan, to be Secretary of 
         Mitch McConnell, David Perdue, Johnny Isakson, Tom 
           Cotton, Mike Crapo, James E. Risch, Pat Roberts, Roy 
           Blunt, John Boozman, Lamar Alexander, John Barrasso, 
           Orrin G. Hatch, Jeff Flake, John Cornyn, Shelley Moore 
           Capito, John Thune, Richard Burr.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I am proud to have a chance to speak in 
support of your fellow Coloradan, Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's 
nominee to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
  Clearly, we all understand this is an important decision and an 
important institution. The Supreme Court is the only Court specified in 
the Constitution and often the final arbiter of how the Constitution 
and the law is to be applied. In the history of the Court, in the 
history of the country, only 112 individuals have had the honor to 
serve on the Supreme Court. As we debate the qualifications and 
qualities of the person who has been nominated, and I hope to see 
confirmed as the 113th person to serve as an Associate Justice or a 
Justice on the Court, it is really vital we understand that we have a 
nominee who has a deep understanding and appreciation of the role of 
the Court and the role the Court plays in our democracy.
  Judge Gorsuch embodies these principles through a lifetime of 
service, and he has really prepared himself in many unique ways for 
this moment. He graduated from Columbia University, where he was 
elected to Phi Beta Kappa and earned his law degree from Harvard Law 
School. After law school, Judge Gorsuch served as a Supreme Court clerk 
to two different Justices, Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony 
Kennedy. It has been pointed out that if Judge Gorsuch is confirmed to 
serve on the Court, he will be the first person ever to serve with 
someone for whom he clerked, and hopefully he and Justice Kennedy will 
have an opportunity to serve together.
  After clerking on the Court, he went on to a successful career in 
private law

[[Page S555]]

practice, spending 10 years litigating a broad range of complex trials 
and appeals.
  In 2004, just in case his Harvard law degree wasn't enough, as a 
Marshall scholar, he received a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford 
  At every point in his preparation, it has been understood he was at 
the top of that preparatory activity. He has served his country in the 
Justice Department, working as the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney 
General. In 2006, 10 years ago, President George W. Bush nominated him 
to serve on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. At the time of his 
nomination, the American Bar Association gave him a unanimous ``well 
qualified'' rating, the highest rating. The Senate then confirmed his 
nomination unanimously by a voice vote.
  Today I believe the Senate has 11 Democrats serving with us who were 
part of that unanimous process. In his decade on the Tenth U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals bench, Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated a steadfast 
commitment to upholding the rule of law and interpreting the 
Constitution as its authors intended.
  I am confident he will continue to adhere to the Constitution, apply 
the rule of law, and not legislate from the bench. I think he 
understands, as Justice Scalia did, that the job of a Justice of the 
Supreme Court is not to decide what the law should be or what the 
Constitution, in their opinion, should say but decide what the law is 
and what the Constitution does say.
  His keen intellect and devotion to law are very well understood and 
appreciated throughout the legal profession. He has the integrity, the 
professional qualifications, and the judicial temperament to serve on 
the Nation's highest Court.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
an editorial from earlier this week.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                 [From the Denver Post, Jan. 26, 2017]

     Trump Would Do Well to Consider Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

                        (By the Editorial Board)

       Then-U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, right, introduces Neil Gorsuch 
     at his nomination hearing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
     the 10th Circuit on June 21, 2006. Gorsuch is being 
     considered as a possibly replacement for the late U.S. 
     Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
       President Donald Trump is on the verge of making his most 
     enduring appointment to date and we are encouraged by one of 
     the names on his list to replace former Supreme Court Justice 
     Antonin Scalia.
       Neil Gorsuch is a federal judge in Denver with Western 
     roots and a reputation for being a brilliant legal mind and 
     talented writer. Those who have followed Gorsuch's career say 
     that from his bench in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 
     he has applied the law fairly and consistently, even issuing 
     provocative challenges to the Supreme Court to consider his 
       Liberals who dreamed of a less-conservative Merrick Garland 
     on the court will undoubtedly gasp at a suggestion that 
     Gorsuch would be a good addition to a court that has been 
     shorthanded for more than a year.
       Gorsuch is most widely known for ruling in the Hobby Lobby 
     contraception case before it reached the Supreme Court in 
     2014. His controversial decision was upheld in a 5-4 vote. 
     Gorsuch wrote in the case that those with ``sincerely held 
     religious beliefs'' should not be forced to participate in 
     something ``their religion teaches them to be gravely 
       We disagreed with that ruling, saying the Supreme Court 
     wrongly applied constitutional protections of religious 
     freedom to a corporation that remained owned by a small group 
     of like-minded individuals.
       We argued that even closely held corporations--primarily 
     functioning as money-making entities and not religious 
     institutions--shouldn't be able to opt out of the Affordable 
     Care Act mandate that insurance cover contraception by citing 
     First Amendment protections intended for individuals and 
       But in considering Gorsuch's body of work and reputation--
     and yes, we like his ties to Colorado as well--we hope Trump 
     gives him the nod.
       We are not afraid of a judge who strictly interprets the 
     Constitution based solely on the language and intent of our 
     nation's founders, as long as he is willing to be consistent 
     even when those rulings conflict with his own beliefs.
       As Denver Attorney Jason Dunn, who considers himself a 
     longtime fan of Gorsuch, explains, his views stem ``from a 
     belief in a separation of powers and in a judicial modesty 
     that it is not in the role of the courts to make law. Justice 
     Scalia would put it: If you like every one of your rulings, 
     you're probably doing it wrong.''
       A justice who does his best to interpret the Constitution 
     or statute and apply the law of the land without prejudice 
     could go fair to restore faith in the highest court of the 
     land. That faith has wavered under the manufactured and false 
     rhetoric from critics that the high court has become a 
     corrupt body stacked with liberals. And while Democrats will 
     surely be tempted to criticize the nomination of anyone Trump 
     appoints, they'd be wise to take the high road and look at 
     qualifications and legal consistency rather than political 
       Gorsuch, at 49, will have years to whittle away at that 
     damaging lack of trust. A July 2016 Gallup Poll found that 52 
     percent of Americans disapproved of the way the Supreme Court 
     handled its job. The finding is striking, considering the 
     same poll in 2000 found only 29 percent of Americans 
       We could do far worse than a thoughtful graduate from 
     Columbia, Harvard and Oxford universities, who clerked for 
     two Supreme Court justices and calls Denver home.

  Mr. BLUNT. I wish to share a little of that editorial where the 
Denver Post says:

       We are not afraid of a judge who strictly interprets the 
     Constitution based solely on the language and intent of our 
     nation's founders, as long as he is willing to be consistent 
     even when those rulings conflict with his own beliefs.
       As Denver Attorney Jason Dunn, who considers himself a 
     longtime fan of Gorsuch, explains, his views stem ``from a 
     belief in a separation of powers and in a judicial modesty 
     that it is not in the role of the courts to make law. Justice 
     Scalia would put it: If you like every one of your rulings, 
     you're probably doing it wrong.''

  That is similar to what you and I heard Judge Gorsuch say last night; 
that a good judge doesn't rule based on what a judge likes to have 
happen but what the law and the Constitution insists does happen.
  Going back and continuing just one more paragraph from that Denver 
Post editorial:

       A Justice who does his best to interpret the Constitution 
     or statute and apply the law of the land without prejudice 
     could go far to restore the faith in the highest court of the 
     land. That faith has wavered under the manufactured and false 
     rhetoric from critics that the high court has become a 
     corrupt body stacked with liberals. And while Democrats will 
     surely be tempted to criticize the nomination of anyone Trump 
     appoints, they'd be wise to take the high road and look at 
     qualifications and legal consistency rather than political 

  That is in the middle of that editorial that is now in the Record.
  The Supreme Court is one of the most important legacies this 
President is likely to leave. I think he made a very well-considered 
and right choice in selecting Judge Gorsuch to begin shaping the long-
term view of the Court. I look forward to hearing more from the judge 
as this confirmation process moves forward and to seeing him confirmed 
as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, we began public hearings on the Supreme 
Court nominees in 1916. Since we began those, the Senate has never 
denied a hearing or a vote to a pending Supreme Court nominee--never, 
since 1916 until last year.
  Last year Senate Republicans waged an unprecedented blockade against 
the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a fine judge with 
impeccable credentials and with strong support from both Republicans 
and Democrats, a man who should be on the Supreme Court today. This is 
the first time since 1916 that had ever been done. Instead, bowing to 
the extreme right of their party, Republicans who knew him and who even 
had said publicly before how much they respected him and how he should 
be on the Supreme Court refused even to meet with him, let alone accord 
him the respect of a confirmation hearing--even though the Constitution 
says that we shall advise and consent and even though each one of us 
has raised our hand in a solemn oath saying we will uphold the 
  So this is exactly what happened. The Republicans held hostage a 
vacancy on the Supreme Court for a year so that their candidate for 
President could choose a nominee. The blockade of the Merrick Garland 
nomination was shameful, but I think it is also corrosive for our 
system of government. Candidate Donald Trump, who verbally attacked a 
sitting Federal judge in what Speaker Ryan called ``a textbook example 
of a racist comment,'' encouraged Senate Republicans to ``delay, delay, 
delay.'' Candidate Trump then went further. He said he would

[[Page S556]]

outsource the vetting of potential nominees to far-right organizations, 
many of them lobbying organizations, that want to stack the judiciary 
with ideological conservatives who are outside the mainstream. He 
promised a nominee who would overturn 40 years of jurisprudence 
established in Roe v. Wade. With the selection of Judge Gorsuch, it 
appears as though he is trying to make good on that promise.
  When we confirmed Judge Gorsuch for the Tenth Circuit Court of 
Appeals--and I was a Member of the Senate at the time--I knew he was 
conservative, but I did not do anything to block him because I hoped he 
would not impose his personal beliefs from the bench. In fact, at his 
confirmation hearing in 2006, Judge Gorsuch stated that ``precedent is 
to be respected and honored.'' He said it is ``unacceptable'' for a 
judge to try to impose ``his own personal views, his politics, [or] his 
personal preferences.'' Yet, just last year, he tried to do that. He 
called for important precedent to be overturned because it did not 
align with his personal philosophy.
  From my initial review of his record, that I have just begun, I 
question whether Judge Gorsuch meets the high standard set by Merrick 
Garland, whose decisions everybody would agree were squarely within the 
mainstream. And with the ideological litmus test that President Trump 
has applied in making this selection, the American people are justified 
to wonder whether Judge Gorsuch can truly be an independent Justice. So 
I intend to ask him about these and other important issues in the 
coming months.
  Republicans rolled the dice last year. They subjected the Supreme 
Court and the American people to a purely political gamble. They 
ignored the Constitution and did something that had never been done 
before in this country.
  I know President Trump likes to boast that he won the election in a 
massive landslide. Well, of course he didn't. Secretary Clinton 
received more than 2.8 million more votes from the American people than 
President Trump. But more importantly, due to Senate Republicans' 
political gambit, the U.S. Supreme Court clearly lost in this election. 
This is really no way to treat a coequal branch of government, and it 
is certainly not the way to protect the independence of our Federal 
judiciary--something that is the bedrock of our Constitution.-
  The President's electoral college victory--which was far narrower 
than either of President Obama's victories--is hardly a mandate for any 
Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on the rights of 
women, LGBT Americans, or minorities; or a nominee who would use 
theories last seen in the 1930s to undermine all we have accomplished 
in the last 80 years. If he follows these right-wing lobbying groups 
who helped vet him for the President, if he follows what they want, 
then critical programs, like Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, 
key statutes, including the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, 
and the Clean Air Act, could well be at risk.
  So after nearly a year of obstruction--unconstitutional, 
unprecedented obstruction--I really don't want to hear Republicans say 
we now must rush to confirm Judge Gorsuch. I know the President thinks 
they should, but I also wonder how seriously even he takes this. His 
announcement yesterday was like he was announcing the winner of a game 
show: I brought in these two people, and now here is the winner. We are 
talking about the U.S. Supreme Court; treat it with the respect it 
  For all of the Republican talk of Democrats setting the standard with 
the confirmations of Justice Sotomayor and Kagan, they ignored the 
standard they set in the shameful treatment of Chief Judge Garland. In 
fact, I remember when--and I was chairman at the time--when we set the 
schedule for the hearings and the vote on Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and 
I remember the Republican leader rushing to the floor and saying: Oh, 
this is terrible. You are rushing it. You are moving it so fast.
  I pointed out that we were setting the schedule to the day--to the 
day--the same as we set for Chief Justice John Roberts. So I asked the 
obvious question: Are you telling me the schedule was OK for him but 
not OK for her? We followed the schedule.
  We need time to look at all of these nominees.
  I would note, as one who has tried cases in Federal courts, as a 
lawyer, and as one who has chaired the Judiciary Committee, I would say 
the courts are a vital check on any administration, especially one 
that, like this one, has found itself on the losing side of an argument 
in Federal court in only its first week--they lost on something that a 
first-year law student could have told them they were going to lose. 
But with great political fanfare, the President issued an order. 
Fortunately, the order was seen for what it was: No Muslims need show 
up in our country.
  Judge Gorsuch, to be confirmed, has to show that he is willing to 
uphold the Constitution even against President Trump, even against the 
lobbying groups the President had vetting him.
  His record includes a decade on the Federal bench. The Judiciary 
Committee must now carefully review his decisions. We have to conduct a 
thorough and unsparing examination of his nomination. That is what I 
will do, just as I have done for every nominee--everybody currently on 
the Supreme Court and many before them. Whether nominated by a 
Republican or a Democrat, I did a thorough and unsparing examination of 
their nomination. The Senate deserves nothing less. More importantly, 
the American people deserve nothing less.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.

                               Travel Ban

  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I rise to speak on a special day. Today is 
my wife's birthday. Today is National Freedom Day, when we recognize 
President Lincoln's signing the 13th Amendment banning slavery. This is 
the reason we celebrate Black History Month in February.
  Today, February 1, begins American Heart Month, acknowledging the 
great heart of the American people, as well as the need for health 
  But today, February 1, is also the first day of World Interfaith 
Harmony Week. In 2010, King Abdallah II of Jordan spoke before the U.N. 
General Assembly, and he asked the U.N. to declare a week every year to 
promote understanding and tolerance between the world's religions. In 
his speech before the U.N., this is what King Abdallah said:

       It is also essential to resist forces of division that 
     spread misunderstanding and mistrust, especially among 
     peoples of different religions. The fact is, humanity 
     everywhere is bound together, not only by mutual interests, 
     but by shared commandments to love God and neighbor, to love 
     the good and neighbor. What we are proposing is a special 
     week, during which the world's people, in their own places of 
     worship, could express the teachings of their own faith about 
     tolerance, respect for others and peace.

  The resolution was adopted unanimously at the U.N. General Assembly, 
and all nations, religions, and peoples were asked to observe it.
  By happy coincidence, as the Presiding Officer knows, King Abdallah 
is in Washington right now. He visited with Senators here at the 
Capitol yesterday and today. Earlier today I met with him, and I told 
him I would speak in his honor in the hopes that his words might 
inspire us at a challenging time.
  The word of last Friday's Executive orders regarding immigration and 
refugees--orders which implemented the President's campaign rhetoric to 
implement a Muslim ban--shocked the country this weekend. I traveled to 
Roanoke and Blacksburg, VA--communities in the southwestern portion of 
my Commonwealth. I was there to meet with local health care providers 
and students pursuing health care careers. I had planned the trip to go 
talk about the Affordable Care Act, but at my first event, two families 
came to me with a concern. Working together with Roanoke Catholic 
charities, they had helped settle a Syrian refugee family in Blacksburg 
1 year ago. The Syrian family was a mom and dad and four kids. These 
sponsors told me how well the family was doing and how welcoming this 
community was in bringing this family to Virginia and taking them in.
  The employer of the Syrian father runs a construction company, and he 
hired him to do construction work. He told me, kind of chuckling about 
it: Senator, not all my workers agree with me on politics, but no one 
better say a

[[Page S557]]

bad word about their Syrian coworker around them.
  He went on to describe how the employees at his construction firm had 
done a number of things, including collecting funds to help the 
children have soccer shoes there, in Southwest Virginia. But they 
didn't tell me this story because it is a happy story about 
resettlement of a family, although that is a point of the story.
  Here is why they came to see me. The community was poised to welcome 
a second family from Syria--a mother, father, and five minor children--
to meet them at the Roanoke airport tomorrow and help them find a home 
in the United States. This refugee family they were supposed to meet 
tomorrow fled Syria 4 years ago. They had been living in a refugee camp 
in Jordan, undergoing 4 years of vetting in the hopes they could come 
to America. Now, their sponsors pressed papers into my hand and said: 
What will happen to this family? Are they now shut out of the dream 
they have worked so hard to achieve? Are we now shut out from our 
desire to offer them the Christian hospitality of our community?
  We have been working to get answers to these questions, but as of 
today, we know nothing about this family's fate.
  There are so many questions I struggle to answer in the aftermath of 
these orders. The orders single out people based on their Muslim faith 
by targeting primarily Muslim nations and allowing exceptions to be 
made for Christians and other religious minorities. Why?
  The orders single out seven countries--countries where citizens have 
been exposed to genocide and other crimes against humanity--while 
leaving countries that have actually exported terrorists to the United 
States untouched. Why?
  The order was applied to legal permanent residents of the United 
States until clarified and also to brave people who had helped American 
soldiers on the battlefield, thereby earning a special immigrant visa 
status. Why?
  We can have security procedures that are based on the danger of an 
individual rather than a stereotype about where they were born or how 
they worship.
  I am called to reflect on these events by King Abdallah's words 
suggesting that the world should recognize this week as World 
Interfaith Harmony Week. He told us today that the order is being 
viewed with deep anxiety in his country, which is one of our strongest 
allies in the Arab world--indeed, in the entire world. I am called to 
reflect on these events by my own citizens in Roanoke and Blacksburg, 
working with a church group, who just want to serve others in a way 
commanded by their faith and by all faiths.
  At the Presiding Officer's desk, there is a book of the rules of the 
Senate and there is also a Bible. In a week where all are called to 
reflect upon their own religious traditions of tolerance and peace, 
there is wisdom in that Book for our Nation.
  Exodus 22:21: ``You shall not wrong or oppress an alien, for you were 
aliens in the land of Egypt.''
  Leviticus 19:34: ``The alien who resides with you shall be to you as 
a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself for you were 
aliens in the land of Egypt.
  Deuteronomy 1:16: ``Give the members of your community a fair hearing 
and judge rightly between one person and another whether citizen or 
resident alien.''
  Deuteronomy 10:18-19: ``For the Lord your God loves the strangers, 
providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger 
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.''
  Deuteronomy 24:17: ``You shall not deprive a resident alien or an 
orphan of justice.''
  Deuteronomy 26:5: ``A wandering Aramaean was my ancestor, he went 
down into Egypt and lived there as an alien.''
  Matthew 2:13-23: Jesus began his life as a refugee in Egypt.
  Matthew 25:34: ``I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you 
gave me drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home.''
  The traditions of this nation, other nations, religions, and peoples 
point us in the same direction. Pope Francis reminded us of these very 
words when he spoke to us in the fall of 2015 and told us--as 
individual leaders and as a nation--that the yardstick we use to 
measure and evaluate others is the yardstick that will be applied to 
  On this opening day of World Interfaith Harmony Week, I pray that we 
commit to peaceful understanding and appreciation of people from 
diverse faith backgrounds. I pray that the unjust immigration orders 
that target suffering people based on where they were born or how they 
worship will be rescinded. I pray that Congress and the administration 
will work together to set up appropriate security procedures that do 
not discriminate on the grounds of religion or national origin, and I 
pray that we will be true to our best principles and not sacrifice them 
for the sake of politics.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The Senator from Colorado.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, as I stated repeatedly before the 
Presidential election of this past year, we stood, and continue to 
stand, at a very pivotal time in our Nation's history.
  After 8 years of using the judicial and regulatory systems to push 
through its legislative agenda, the balance of power had shifted from 
what our Founders intended. Our Founders intended the Congress to make 
the laws and write the laws, the executive branch to implement the 
laws, and the judiciary to be guardians of the Constitution, not to 
make the laws.
  That is why we said that the next President of the United States, 
whether they be Democrat or Republican, would have the opportunity to 
fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, following the Biden rule--the 
edict that there wouldn't be a confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court 
nominee until after that year's Presidential election--to allow the 
American people to make their decision, giving the American people a 
say in the direction of this country for years to come. In return, they 
have given us this nominee.
  It is with great pride that I rise today to talk about the nominee 
today--a fellow Coloradan, Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's 
nominee to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch comes to the Court with 
that unique western perspective that the Presiding Officer and I share. 
Our States of Utah and Colorado obviously like to see that western 
perspective shared at the Tenth Circuit Court, where it is housed in 
the West, but at every level of our courts and to the Supreme Court--
adding to Justice Kennedy's background and to others who share that 
same perspective and history in the Supreme Court.
  Born in Denver, Judge Gorsuch is a fourth-generation Coloradan, 
coming from a long line of individuals who have dedicated their life to 
service not only to the State of Colorado but to the Nation. His 
mother, Ann Gorsuch, served in the Colorado House of Representatives 
and, during the Reagan administration, she was the first female 
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. His grandfather, 
John Gorsuch, founded one of Denver's largest law firms, Gorsuch 
Kirgis, where both he and Neil's father, Dave, practiced throughout the 
firm's successful 60-year-old history. His stepfather, Robert Buford, 
was a former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives who went 
on to become the head of the Bureau of Land Management.
  Judge Gorsuch is also one of our country's brightest legal minds, 
with a sterling reputation, and significant experience as a Federal 
judge and a private litigator. He has impeccable academic credentials 
and is a widely respected legal scholar. He received his bachelor's 
degree from Columbia University, graduated from Harvard Law School, and 
was a Marshall scholar at Oxford University, where he obtained a 
doctorate in legal philosophy.
  Of course, I cannot forget the summer he spent at the University of 
Colorado as well. Judge Gorsuch clerked for two Supreme Court 
justices--Byron White, a Colorado native as well. In fact, in his 
comments last night after the announcement of his nomination, Judge 
Gorsuch mentioned that he worked for the only Coloradan to serve on the 
Supreme Court and also the only leading rusher in the NFL to ever serve 
on the Supreme Court.
  He also clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, as well as for Judge 
David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. 
Following his clerkships, Judge Gorsuch went into private

[[Page S558]]

practice, eventually rising to the rank of partner in the elite 
litigation law firm of Kellogg Huber, leaving practice in 2005 to serve 
as a high-ranking official in the Bush administration Justice 
Department. A year later, President George W. Bush nominated Gorsuch to 
serve on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, a position for which he 
was confirmed by a unanimous vote. I think it is very telling that not 
only was he confirmed by a unanimous vote, but roughly 11 or 12 members 
of the Democratic conference were there to vote for Judge Gorsuch. 
There are people serving today who voted for Judge Gorsuch. I believe 
SCOTUSblog recently reported that when Judge Gorsuch was nominated to 
the Tenth Circuit Court, then, Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing was 
sparsely attended. I believe it mentioned that only a few people 
attended. I think Senator Lindsey Graham, our colleague from South 
Carolina, was one of the Senators to attend his confirmation hearing. I 
believe Senator Leahy, our colleague from Vermont, submitted questions 
for the record. But as SCOTUSblog cited, very few people attended his 
confirmation hearing because of the high caliber and high quality of 
the nomination. He was introduced by my predecessor from Colorado, Ken 
Salazar, and was praised from Senator Salazar's perspective for being 
impartial, fair, and the having the kind of temperament that we need in 
the circuit court.
  Judge Gorsuch is an ardent faithful defender of the Constitution and 
has the appropriate temperament, as then-Senator Salazar noted, to 
serve on the Nation's highest Court. Of course, he was then talking 
about the Tenth Circuit Court. Judge Gorsuch recognizes that the 
judiciary isn't the place for social or constitutional experimentation, 
and efforts to engage in such experimentation delegitimizes the Court. 
He has said:

       This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to 
     debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the 
     judiciary. . . . As a society, we lose the benefit of the 
     give-and-take of the political process and the flexibility of 
     social experimentation that only the elected branches can 

  Here we see his understanding that certain debates are to take place 
where debate is held by those elected directly by the people--in the 
  Judge Gorsuch believes in the separation of powers as established by 
our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. As he rightly stated, ``a 
firm and independent judiciary is critical to a well-functioning 
democracy,'' understanding the value of three branches of government, 
the value of an independent judiciary, understanding that there are 
certain things dedicated exclusively to the judiciary, to the 
legislative branch, and to the executive.
  Judge Gorsuch is not an ideologue. He is a mainstream jurist who 
follows the law as written and doesn't try to supplant it with his 
personal policy preferences. He said: ``Personal politics or policy 
preferences have no useful role in judging; regular and healthy doses 
of self-skepticism and humility about one's own abilities and 
conclusions always do.''
  Judge Gorsuch understands the advantage of democratic institutions 
and the special authority and legitimacy that come from the consent of 
the government. He said: ``Judges must allow the elected branches of 
government to flourish and citizens, through their elected 
representatives, to make laws appropriate to the facts and 
circumstances of the day.''
  Judge Gorsuch appreciates the rule of law and respects the considered 
judgment of those who came before him. He said:

       Precedent is to be respected and honored. It is not 
     something to be diminished or demeaned.

  This morning, I had the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch--of 
course, knowing him from Colorado and the town of Boulder, where he 
lives today, and also where I received my law degree. We spent a lot of 
time talking about our favorite passions in Colorado, whether it is 
fly-fishing, whether it is paddle-boarding. Of course, he spends a lot 
of time out on the Boulder Reservoir, enjoying recreation--just like 
every other person in Boulder does and every other person in Colorado 
does--as somebody who understands the great outdoors. We talked about 
the rule of law. We talked about the separation of powers, his concern 
over originalism and textualism, and following in the footsteps of 
other great Justices on the Supreme Court.
  We talked about something he said last night when his name was put 
forward for nomination by President Trump. We talked about a statement 
he made to this effect: If a judge likes every opinion that they have 
written, every decision that they have reached, they are probably a bad 
judge. I think this goes to his insistence that, as a judge, you must 
put your personal beliefs, your personal policies aside to rule as the 
rule of law requires and to rule as the Constitution and the statutes 
  We discussed in our meeting decisions he made of which he didn't like 
the outcome but believed that the rule of law required a certain 
outcome--whether it was a felon who possessed a handgun or whether the 
Federal Government had misspoken to the accused and he believed that 
the government had done the accused wrong.
  While Judge Gorsuch personally believed that perhaps he would have 
liked to have found a guilty decision or agreed with a guilty decision, 
he couldn't do it because of the standards that were applied in the 
case--the grammatical gravity that had to be ignored in order to reach 
the conclusion the lower court had reached.
  His ability to put personal opinions aside, I think, is what makes 
him an ideal candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the coming days 
and months, we are going to have many opportunities to talk about the 
qualities of Judge Gorsuch, but we have already heard many people 
complain that perhaps they didn't pay enough attention to Judge Gorsuch 
10 years ago. They talked about their concern, this newfound concern 
that was not available--that apparently wasn't there 10 years ago when 
this Senate unanimously supported Judge Gorsuch.
  I have even heard complaints that they didn't like the way that his 
nomination was announced--a complaint about how the President announced 
the nomination. Those are the kinds of concerns we are hearing about 
Judge Gorsuch today because they didn't like the way he was announced.
  We are going to have a lot of opportunity to talk about his 
temperament, those things he believes are important as a judge, those 
things he believes are important to make decisions. I look forward to 
having a conversation about what I believe is a brilliant legal mind--
someone of a brilliant legal mind, someone with a sterling reputation, 
someone who has been known as a feeder judge of clerks to the highest 
Court in the land, someone who rules on the law and not on his personal 
beliefs, someone who believes in the Constitution and not in the role 
of legislator from the bench.
  I am grateful I had this opportunity to support a Coloradan, a man of 
the West, to Nation's highest Court, and I look forward to working to 
place Judge Gorsuch as Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  Mr. President, I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, we are in the second week of the Trump 
Presidency, and it is pretty clear that something is happening in our 
country. All across the Nation, Americans in quiet towns and boisterous 
cities are taking to the streets to fight for American values. They are 
protesting in the streets and calling their Representatives. They are 
getting involved in local organizations, and they are organizing around 
the causes they support.
  We know that American values are threatened when the President issues 
an order banning immigrants from the country based on their religion. 
We know that American values are threatened when politicians try to 
break apart a health care system that has extended medical benefits to 
millions of Americans, and we know that American values are threatened 
when a President tries to stack his government with billionaires and 
insiders who have a history of grinding working people into the dirt.
  Yesterday something happened that is a threat to our American values. 
President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme 
Court. For years now, I have repeated this warning: America's promise 
of equal justice under the law is in danger. Over the last three 
decades, as the

[[Page S559]]

rich have grown richer and middle-class families have struggled, the 
scales of justice have also tilted, tilted in favor of the wealthy and 
the powerful.
  This is not an accident. It is part of a deliberate strategy to turn 
our courts into one more rigged game for folks at the top, and its 
effects have been devastating. Recent court decisions have protected 
giant businesses from accountability, made it harder for people who 
have been injured or cheated to get a hearing, gutted longstanding laws 
protecting consumers who have been swindled, and unleashed a flood of 
secret money into our politics that is rapidly tilting the entire 
government in favor of the wealthy.
  Billionaires and corporate giants have launched a full-scale attack 
on fair-minded, mainstream judges. It has happened at every level of 
our judiciary, but the best example was the unprecedented blockade of 
Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland 
was an obvious consensus nominee and a straight shooter who followed 
the law. Why block him? The problem was that Judge Garland's career 
didn't reflect a sufficient willingness to bend the law to suit the 
needs of the rich and powerful. And for that sin, far-right groups, 
financed by Big Business interests, spent millions of dollars attacking 
him, to torpedo his nomination and keep that seat open.
  They did something else that is even more damaging: Far-right groups 
also drew up a list of ``acceptable'' Supreme Court nominees, people 
who demonstrated they were sympathetic to the rich and the powerful. 
Judge Neil Gorsuch made the cut, and his nomination is their reward.
  Judge Gorsuch is intelligent and accomplished. He is polite, 
respectful, and articulate. Make no mistake, his professional record, 
which I have reviewed in detail, clearly and consistently favors the 
interests of big corporations over workers, big corporations over 
consumers, and big corporations over pretty much anybody else.
  Let's not mince words. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch is a huge gift 
to the giant corporations and wealthy individuals who have stolen a 
Supreme Court seat in order to make sure that the justice system works 
for them. What I am saying shouldn't be controversial. They haven't 
made a secret of what they were doing. This is exactly why Judge 
Gorsuch has been on their list for 4 months. He is the payoff for their 
multimillion-dollar investment.
  Throughout his professional career, Judge Gorsuch has shown a truly 
remarkable insensitivity to the struggles of working Americans and an 
eagerness to side with businesses that break the rules over workers who 
are seeking justice.
  Even before he became a judge, Judge Gorsuch famously argued in favor 
of limiting the ability of investors and shareholders to bring lawsuits 
when companies commit fraud, whining about how annoying it is for 
billionaire corporations to have to face their investors when they 
cheat them.
  As a judge for more than a decade, he has twisted himself into a 
pretzel to make sure that the rules favor giant companies over workers 
and individual Americans. Let me just count some of the ways. He has 
sided with employers who deny wages, employers who improperly fire 
workers, employers who retaliate against whistleblowers for misconduct. 
He has sided with employers who denied retirement benefits to their 
workers. He has sided with big insurance companies against disabled 
workers who were denied benefits. He has ruled against workers in all 
kinds of discrimination cases. He has even argued that the rights of 
corporations outweigh the rights of the people working for them, for 
example, allowing businesses to assert religious beliefs so they can 
limit their employees' access to health care.
  Listen to that one again. He thinks that a company can assert a 
religious belief and decide whether female employees get access to 
birth control. Let's be clear. That means a lot of employees will be 
living at the whim of their employers.
  Judge Gorsuch has written dismissively about lawsuits to vindicate 
the rights of vulnerable people. Equal marriage? Assisted suicide? Keep 
those issues out of his courtroom.
  He is willing to open the doors wide when big corporations show up in 
his court to challenge health and safety rules they don't like or 
regulations to prevent them from polluting our air and water, poisoning 
our food, undermining our public safety, or just plain cheating people. 
When that happens, Judge Gorsuch is ready to go, to override the rules 
with his own views. On that score, he is even more extreme than Justice 
  This is exactly the type of Supreme Court Justice that giant 
corporations want, but they have never been quite so brazen about it. 
Spending millions to slime a consensus straight shooter nominee like 
Merrick Garland and steal a Supreme Court seat, then drawing up a 
public list of ``acceptable'' alternatives and handing it over to a 
billionaire President so he can do his buddies a favor. That is bold. 
That is bold, and that is not how America is supposed to work.
  Our courts are supposed to be neutral arbiters, dispensing justice 
based on the facts and the law, not people chosen to advance the 
interests of those at the top.
  Let's be clear. This fundamental principle might be more important 
today than it has ever been in modern history. Every day our new 
President finds more ways to demonstrate his hostility for an 
independent judiciary, for a civil society, and for the rule of law. 
That is precisely the reason that our Constitution gives us a neutral, 
independent judiciary. We don't need Justices who have been handpicked 
for their willingness to kowtow to those with money, power, and 
influence. We need Justices who will stand up to those with money, 
power, and influence.
  Judge Gorsuch may occasionally write in vague terms about the 
importance of the independent courts. Today, right now, that simply is 
not good enough. Now, more than ever, the United States needs a Supreme 
Court that puts the law first every single time. That means Justices 
with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans--
civil rights, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and all the protections 
guaranteed by our laws.
  We cannot stand down when American values and constitutional 
principles are attacked. We cannot stand down when the President of the 
United States hands our highest Court over to the highest bidder, and 
that is why I will oppose Judge Gorsuch's nomination.
  Mr. President, I yield.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the nomination 
of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve as the next Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Gorsuch has been nominated to 
fill the seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
  Justice Scalia was a dear friend of mine, and his death was a great 
loss to me and to our country, not just to me personally but for the 
whole Nation. Justice Scalia joined the Supreme Court after years of 
unbridled activism by the Court, during which time Justices imposed 
their own left-wing views--completely unmoored from the law as 
written--on the American people.
  In response, he led a much needed revolution based on the enduring 
principle that the role of a judge is to say what the law is, not what 
a judge wishes it were. As the intellectual architect of the effort to 
restore the judiciary to its proper role under the Constitution, 
Justice Scalia was a singularly influential jurist.
  To say that he leaves big shoes to fill is an understatement. Any 
worthy successor to his legacy will not only be committed to continuing 
his life's work but also capable of delivering the sort of intellectual 
firepower and leadership that Justice Scalia provided for decades.
  Of all the potential candidates for this position, this vacancy, Neil 
Gorsuch stands out as the jurist best positioned to fill this role. His 

[[Page S560]]

can only be described as stellar: Columbia University, a Marshall 
Scholarship to study at Oxford, Harvard Law School, clerkships for 
Judge Sentelle on the DC Circuit and for Justices White and Kennedy on 
the Supreme Court, a distinguished career in private practice and at 
the Department of Justice, and more than a decade of service on the 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

  Even among his many talented colleagues on the Federal bench, his 
opinions consistently stand out for their clarity, thoughtfulness, and 
airtight reasoning. In the words of one of his colleagues appointed by 
President Carter, Judge Gorsuch ``writes opinions in a unique style 
that has more verve and vitality than any other judge I study on a 
regular basis.'' He continued: ``Judge Gorsuch listens well and decides 
justly. His dissents are instructive rather than vitriolic. In sum, I 
think he is an excellent judicial craftsman.''
  This view of Judge Gorsuch's capabilities is broadly shared across a 
wide swath of legal observers. Consider some other descriptions of his 
qualifications from outlets that could hardly be considered 
conservative. The New York Times reported on his ``credentials and 
erudition.'' The Los Angeles Times called him a ``highly regarded . . . 
jurist,'' and ABC News described how ``in legal circles, he's 
considered a gifted writer.''
  I think there can be no doubt that Judge Gorsuch has the credentials 
to make him a capable and effective member of the U.S. Supreme Court. 
Nevertheless, I have long held that a nominee's resume alone--no matter 
how sterling--should not be considered sufficient evidence to merit 
confirmation to the Supreme Court. Rather, we should also consider a 
nominee's judicial philosophy. In this analysis, Judge Gorsuch has 
developed a record that should command ironclad confidence in his 
understanding of the proper role of a judge under the Constitution.
  Judge Gorsuch's opinions and writings show a clear fidelity to a 
judge's proper role. While his body of work is replete with examples of 
this fidelity, I want to point to one example in particular, a lecture 
he delivered last year in the wake of Justice Scalia's death that is 
one of the most thoughtful and persuasive cases for the proper role of 
a judge that I have ever read. In it, he affirmed his allegiance to the 
traditional account of the judicial role championed by Justice Scalia, 
which he described as such:

       The great project of Justice Scalia's career was to remind 
     us of the differences between judges and legislators. To 
     remind us that legislators may appeal to their own moral 
     convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the 
     law as they think it should be in the future. But that judges 
     should do none of these things in a democratic society. That 
     judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) 
     to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, 
     and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a 
     reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would 
     have understood the law to be--not to decide cases based on 
     their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they 
     believe might serve society best.

  As Justice Scalia put it, ``If you are going to be a good and 
faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you're not 
always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all 
the time, you are probably doing something wrong.''
  This is exactly the kind of judicial philosophy we need our judges to 
espouse, and Neil Gorsuch is exactly the man to embody it on the 
Supreme Court. If there is one line in that lecture to which I could 
draw attention, it is the quotation of Justice Scalia's formulation of 
the very basic notion that a good judge will oftentimes reach outcomes 
that he does not personally agree with as a matter of policy. Such a 
notion should be uncontroversial.
  Indeed, many of Justice Scalia's brightest opinions came in cases in 
which I suspect he would have voted differently as a legislator than as 
a judge. Yet such a concept might seem wholly foreign to a casual 
observer of media coverage of the Supreme Court, in which cases are 
invariably viewed through a political lens. Decisions and Justices are 
regularly described as liberal or conservative, with little attention 
paid to rationale and methodology, the matters properly at the core of 
a judge's work. This phenomenon reflects a regrettable dynamic observed 
by Justice Scalia himself. As the late Justice observed, when judges 
substitute their personal policy preferences for the fixed and 
discernible meaning of the law, the selection of judges--in particular, 
the selection of Supreme Court Justices--becomes what he called a mini-
plebiscite on the meaning of the Constitution and laws of this country. 
Put another way, if judges are empowered to rewrite the laws as they 
please, the judicial appointment process becomes a matter of selecting 
life-tenured legislators practically immune from any accountability 
  If we value such a system of judicial review, a system deeply at odds 
with the Constitution's concept of the judiciary, then one can easily 
see why judicial selection becomes a matter of producing particular 
policy outcomes. Thus, it is easy to see why many on the left who 
believe in such a system demand litmus tests on hot-button policy 
issues. To them, a judge is not fit to serve unless they rule in a way 
that produces a particular policy. Simply put, this is a terrible way 
to approach judicial selection. It undermines the Constitution and all 
of the crucial principles that it enshrines from the rule of law to the 
notion that our government's legitimacy depends on the consent of the 
  A good judge is not one that we can depend on to produce particular 
policy outcomes. A good judge is one we can depend on to produce the 
outcomes commanded by the law and the Constitution. Neil Gorsuch has 
firmly established himself as that kind of a judge. In Neil Gorsuch's 
America, the laws that bind us are made by the people's elected 
representatives, not unelected, unaccountable judges. In Neil Gorsuch's 
America, the powers and limits of each branch of government are decided 
by the Constitution, no matter whether their enforcement produces a 
liberal or conservative outcome. In Neil Gorsuch's America, the basic 
freedoms of the American people enumerated in the Bill of Rights are 
carefully protected, whether they are in fashion lately with the left, 
the right, both or neither. In Neil Gorsuch's America, the views that 
matter are yours and mine, not those of a handful of lawyers in black 
robes in Washington.
  For these reasons, I applaud the President for his absolutely stellar 
choice. Judge Gorsuch will do us proud as our next Supreme Court 
Justice. I will do everything in my power to ensure his confirmation. I 
will have more to say on this in the future, but I yield the floor at 
this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, it hasn't even been 2 weeks, and President 
Trump has already demonstrated that he has little tolerance for 
independent thinking and dissent. He has his own version of reality, 
which is why his administration resorts to alternative facts.
  When the media accurately reported how small the crowd was at his 
inauguration, he presented us with alternative facts. When the media 
pointed out he lost the popular vote by the largest margin of any 
President, he boldly proclaimed, without any evidence, that 3 to 5 
million people voted illegally. Many consider this whopper as a cynical 
way to encourage more States to pass voter suppression laws justified 
by the bogus claim of widespread voter fraud.
  Just 2 days ago, the President again showed the American people how 
intolerant he is of principled dissent when he fired acting Attorney 
General Sally Yates after she refused to enforce or defend his totally 
unjustifiable, knee-jerk, and probably unconstitutional Executive order 
on Muslim immigration.
  By firing Sally Yates, the President demonstrated once again that he 
values loyalty to himself above service to the American people and 
adherence to the Constitution. This is particularly disturbing as we 
begin to consider the President's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to 
sit on the Supreme Court.
  I am only beginning to scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's record, but I am 
very concerned that he will be a rubberstamp for President Trump's 
radical agenda. You don't have to take my word for it. You only have to 
listen to what the President has been saying

[[Page S561]]

over the past 2 years. In June 2015, then-Candidate Trump told CNN's 
Jake Tapper that he would apply a pro-life litmus test for his nominees 
to the Supreme Court. He did it again at a press conference last March, 
during the third Presidential debate, and shortly after his election.
  This isn't the only litmus test President Trump promised to apply. In 
February 2016, President Trump committed to appointing a Justice who 
would allow businesses and individuals to deny women access to health 
care on the basis of so-called religious freedom. In February 2016, 
President Trump told Joe Scarborough he would make upholding the Heller 
decision on guns another litmus test for his Supreme Court nominee. 
Like tens of millions of Americans, I am deeply concerned that 
President Trump applied each of these tests before he nominated Judge 
Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
  In the weeks and months ahead, I will carefully and extensively 
scrutinize Judge Gorsuch's record. I will question him on his judicial 
philosophy and how he interprets the Constitution. I will insist he 
clarify his position on a woman's constitutionally protected right to 
choose, on voting rights, and the appropriate balance between corporate 
interests and individual rights. I will do my job as a United States 
Senator. The American people deserve nothing less from each of us.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Stream Buffer Rule

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, for the last 8 years, the Obama 
administration has pushed through a number of harmful regulations that 
circumvent Congress, slow growth, shift power away from State and local 
governments toward Washington, and kill a lot of jobs. Even on the way 
out the door, the former administration's regulatory onslaught 
continued as they pushed through more midnight regulations. These 
nearly 40 major regulations, which were pushed through by the Obama 
administration since election day, would cost Americans a projected 
$157 billion, according to one report.
  Fortunately, with a new President, we now have the opportunity to 
give the American people relief and our economy a boost. One of the 
most important tools we have is the Congressional Review Act, which 
allows Congress to provide relief from heavyhanded regulations that 
hold our country back.
  The House just took an important step by sending us two pieces of 
legislation that will reassert congressional authority and make a real 
impact for the American people.
  One of those resolutions will address a regulation that puts U.S. 
companies at a competitive disadvantage to private and foreign 
companies. Passing this resolution will allow the SEC to go back to the 
drawing board so that we can promote transparency, which is something 
we all want, but to do so without giving giant foreign conglomerates a 
leg up over American workers. We will take it up soon.
  The other resolution, which we will take up first, will address an 
eleventh-hour parting salvo in the Obama administration's war on coal 
families that could threaten one-third of America's coal-mining jobs. 
It is identical to the legislation I introduced this week and is a 
continuation of my efforts to push back against the former 
administration's attack on coal communities.
  Appalachian coal miners, like those in my home State of Kentucky, 
need relief right now. That is why groups like the Kentucky Coal 
Association, the United Mine Workers Association, and 14 State 
attorneys general, among others, have all joined together in a call to 
overturn this regulation.
  The Senate should approve this resolution without delay and send it 
to the President's desk. The sooner we do, the sooner we can begin 
undoing the job-killing policies associated with the stream buffer 
rule. This is not a partisan issue; this is about bringing relief to 
those who need it and protecting jobs across our country. I hope our 
friends across the aisle will support our Nation's coal miners and join 
me in advancing this resolution.
  After we address these regulations, both the House and the Senate 
will continue working to advance several other CRA resolutions that can 
bring the American people relief.