NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 49
(Senate - March 21, 2017)

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[Pages S1857-S1858]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH

  Mr. McCONNELL. On another matter, Mr. President, yesterday Supreme 
Court nominee Neil Gorsuch came before the Judiciary Committee for the 
first day of his confirmation hearing. In his opening statement, Judge 
Gorsuch showed why so many lawyers and judges strongly support his 
nomination as a thoughtful and fairminded judge who understands the 
particular role of the Federal courts in our Republic and who has 
discharged his judicial office accordingly.
  Last week, two of his former colleagues on the Tenth Circuit Court of 
Appeals added their voices to this growing chorus. The endorsement of 
him was published in the Washington Post. Judge Gorsuch's hearing 
continues today with Senators on the committee asking him questions. As 

[[Page S1858]]

do, we should keep in mind the counsel of his former Tenth Circuit 
colleagues--both as to their experience with Judge Gorsuch on the bench 
and their view of our role in questioning him now that he is before the 
Senate. Judges Deanell Reece Tacha and Robert Henry both served with 
Judge Gorsuch on the Tenth Circuit. Both were chief judges of that 
court, in fact, and both have gone on to careers in academia: Judge 
Tacha as dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law and Judge 
Henry as president and chief executive of Oklahoma City University. 
Judge Tacha was appointed to the circuit court by President Reagan 
while Judge Henry was appointed to the circuit court by President 
Clinton. They describe themselves as a lifelong Republican and 
Democrat, respectively.
  They write that ``predictions abound as to how Judge Neil Gorsuch--if 
confirmed--would lean or even vote on this or that case. . . . But 
these essentially political discussions tend to distort the role of 
judges in our government.'' They remind us that the `` `independence of 
the judges' is a most sacred tradition in U.S. constitutional law, 
requiring all judges to have no obligations to those who nominated or 
confirmed them.'' Let me repeat that. They note that the principle of 
judicial independence requires judges not to have obligations to those 
who nominate them or those who confirm them.
  In that regard, Judges Tacha and Henry remind us that ``[d]etailed 
discussions during the confirmation process on issues that might come 
before a judge are not proper; in fact, they would in all likelihood 
require recusals from the cases discussed.'' They point out how the 
judicial process is different from the confirmation process. They 
observe that ``controversies that go before the court often bring 
unique and complicated facts that could completely change a judge's 
sincerely espoused view.'' Legal research is ``[a]nother critically 
important input into judicial decisions.'' Legal research might reveal 
precedent that overrides a judge's ``previously held views or even 
logical interpretations of legal text.'' They emphasize that the 
judicial process is the collection of ``[t]hese factors--tradition, 
independence, precedent and unique facts,'' and that these factors 
``often combine to lead judicial nominees to change their views when 
confronted with specific cases.''
  By contrast, these factors are not present in the confirmation 
process. So it is not realistic or fair to expect a judicial nominee to 
state or imply under oath how he or she might rule as a judge. That is 
why Justice Ginsburg could not give any hints, forecasts, or previews 
of her possible rulings during her Supreme Court nomination hearing.
  But we don't have to guess how Judge Gorsuch would conduct himself as 
a Justice. We have a 10-year record of his judicial decisions, and we 
have the professional experience of those who practiced before him and 
those who have served with him. As for the latter, Judges Tacha and 
Henry give him the highest marks.
  Judge Gorsuch was, they say, ``like most good judges, assiduously 
attentive to the facts and the law in each case.'' If he were confirmed 
to the Supreme Court, they say that ``other important traits of Gorsuch 
that are not likely to change'' are things like ``his fair 
consideration of opposing views, his remarkable intelligence, his 
wonderful judicial temperament expressed to litigants and his 
collegiality toward colleagues.''
  They conclude by saying that ``[i]f we seek to confirm to the Supreme 
Court a noted intellect, a collegial colleague, and a gifted and 
eloquent writer--as well as a person of exhibited judicial 
temperament--Gorsuch fits that bill. He represents the best of the 
judicial tradition in our country.''
  Their endorsement tracks with so many others we have heard, and I am 
confident Judge Gorsuch will show the country today and tomorrow why so 
many people are so proud to support him to be our next Supreme Court