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

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[Pages S1860-S1861]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                       NOMINATION OF NEIL GORSUCH

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I am here today to discuss the nomination 
of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. So far this year, 
we have heard that it is too early to do everything, that the process 
of putting the President's Cabinet in place, which took longer than any 
administration since George Washington and is still not completed, was 
somehow too early. We heard that every single nominee was being handled 
too quickly, even though every previous President since the first 
President has managed to have a Cabinet confirmed by the Senate quicker 
than this one.
  Clearly the process going on right now--hours of questioning 
beginning today for Judge Gorsuch, who has a 10-year record as an 
appeals judge on the Tenth Circuit, where all of the other judges in 
the district courts under the Tenth Circuit's jurisdiction see their 
cases go to be appealed.
  The Supreme Court is ``distinctly American in concept and function,'' 
according to Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and there is, frankly, 
nothing quite like it in any other constitutional government. It is a 
Court that was supposed to be part of this very unique at the time idea 
of a government that was so finely balanced that it would run itself, a 
machine that was so finely balanced that it didn't take a King, it 
didn't take the intervention of somebody to decide who would be the one 
person who would run the country.
  The Supreme Court--the only Court mentioned in the Constitution--is a 
uniquely American court. In the history of the country, only 112 people 
have had the honor to serve on the Supreme Court. On the last day of 
January, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to be one of those unique individuals 
who get to serve on this Court, to be an Associate Justice on the U.S. 
Supreme Court.
  Since his nomination, he has visited individually with a significant 
majority of Members of the Senate. I think he has had 70 visits with 
Members of the Senate in their offices. Many of my colleagues on the 
other side--several of whom I will mention in a minute--voted for Judge 
Gorsuch to have the job he currently has. Many of my colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle left their meetings with Judge Gorsuch 
impressed by his character, by his intellect. Here is what just a 
couple of our colleagues on the other side said:
  ``He did a very good job in the meeting with me. He presents himself 
very well.''
  Another one of our colleagues said: ``He's a very caring person, and 
he's obviously legally very smart. . . . I think we are dealing with 
someone who is impressive.''
  Another one of our colleagues said they ``had a thorough conversation 
about the importance of the rule of law and of a judiciary that is 
independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.''
  As more Senators had a chance to meet Judge Gorsuch, they came to see 
him as an independent-minded judge who has a deep appreciation for the 
law and a real understanding of what a judge should do.
  It was mentioned earlier that the judge should be required to talk 
about how he would rule on individual cases. Of course not. In fact, 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is on the Court now, was very strident before 
the committee in pointing out that it would be wrong for a judge to 
explain how they would judge an individual case. She said that if a 
judge did that, a judge would actually have to recuse themselves, in 
her opinion, from the case, and others on the Court today have all said 
similar things when asked the kinds of questions that the minority 
leader just said that Judge Gorsuch would have to answer if he was 
going to be confirmed to the Court. If that was the test, there would 
be nobody on the Court today, and if that was the test, none of the 112 
people who have served on the Court

[[Page S1861]]

would have, in all likelihood, passed that test.
  When I had a chance to visit with Judge Gorsuch, it was clear that he 
understood the proper role of a judge. The role of a judge--the job is 
to adhere to the Constitution, to apply the rule of law, and not to 
legislate from the bench.
  When he was nominated by President Trump, Judge Gorsuch said:

       It is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It 
     is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the 
     people's representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he 
     reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he 
     prefers, rather than those the law demands.

  What does that mean? How would a person reach a conclusion they 
didn't like and that is what makes them a good judge? Well, a good 
judge reads the law, reads the Constitution, and applies the law. A 
good judge doesn't try to determine what the Constitution and the law 
should say but only has the job of determining what the Constitution 
and the law do say.
  Justice Scalia--the vacancy Judge Gorsuch will fill--according to 
Justice Scalia, setting aside personal views is ``one of the primary 
qualifications for a judge''--not determining what you would like to 
happen but determining what the law and the Constitution say has to 
happen. I think Judge Gorsuch understands that.
  He comes to the Court very well prepared. He is a graduate of 
Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University. His 
academic credentials are unrivalled in preparation for this job. He 
served his country admirably as a Supreme Court Justice clerk for 
Justice Byron White, who was appointed to the Court by President 
Kennedy and confirmed by the Senate, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who 
was appointed to the Court by President Reagan. Judge Gorsuch served as 
the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, and then in 2006, 
President George W. Bush nominated him to serve on the Tenth Circuit 
Court of Appeals. The Senate confirmed his nomination unanimously by a 
voice vote. There are 12 Democrats currently serving in the Senate who 
were then in office and supported Judge Gorsuch's nomination 10 years 
ago to the job he has today.
  In the decade Judge Gorsuch has served as a circuit court judge, 
reviewing the work of other Federal judges on appeal, he has 
demonstrated the integrity, professional qualifications, and judicial 
temperament to serve on the Nation's highest Court.
  Judge Gorsuch said recently that judges are not politicians in robes. 
It is not the job of a judge to determine what the law is or should be; 
it is the job of a judge to determine what the law is. The job of a 
judge is to determine what the Framers intended the Constitution to 
say.
  Judge Gorsuch received high praise from legal experts across party 
lines. He has gotten the highest level of recommendation from the 
American Bar Association, unanimously rating him as ``well qualified,'' 
its highest rating. He is respected by people who know him in his 
community. He has really dedicated himself to a lifetime of service 
that prepares him for this job.
  The Supreme Court is one of the foundational institutions of our 
country. It is designed to protect our democracy and is designed to 
really understand and apply the Constitution and the law so that the 
rule of law is uniquely dependable in the United States of America.
  If you are a citizen and you read the law and you understand what the 
law says, that should get you a long way toward success before the 
courts and ensures that in this country, the rule of law matters. The 
ultimate determiner of what the law says is the Supreme Court.
  I think Judge Gorsuch will serve well and I hope long on the Court. I 
believe that in the next couple of weeks, he will join the Justices, 
one of whom he clerked for. If that happens, he will be the first 
person in the history of the country to be sitting as an Associate 
Justice with another Associate Justice who decades earlier he was the 
law clerk for when he and Associate Justice Kennedy had an opportunity 
to serve together.
  With that, I notice my colleague from Iowa is here, and I yield the 
floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mrs. ERNST. Mr. President, I rise today to praise President Trump for 
selecting an eminently qualified nominee in Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an 
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. No one can dispute the 
academic credentials and intellectual rigor of Judge Gorsuch. In fact, 
even a former Acting Solicitor General under President Obama, Neal 
Katyal, called Judge Gorsuch ``one of the most thoughtful and brilliant 
judges to have served our Nation over the last century.'' Just 
yesterday, he joined the Republican and Democratic Senators from 
Colorado in introducing Judge Gorsuch at his confirmation hearing 
before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  Judge Gorsuch graduated with honors from Columbia University and then 
Harvard Law School. He later earned a doctorate in legal philosophy 
from the University of Oxford. Prior to becoming a judge, Neil Gorsuch 
was Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General and Acting 
Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice, worked as a 
litigator in private practice, and served as a law clerk to Supreme 
Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. Moreover, earlier this 
month, the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal 
Judiciary rated Judge Gorsuch ``well qualified,'' its highest rating.
  One of my constituents who went to high school with Judge Gorsuch 
took the time to send me a note in support of his character, calling 
him ``the most reasonable, smart, principled, kind, and humble person I 
know.'' Even at a young age, he made a positive impression on his 
colleagues--something he has continued to do today.
  During the course of Judge Gorsuch's 10-year judicial career, his 
opinions have reflected not only his outstanding legal acumen but also 
his respect for the Constitution and his Scalia-like ability to explain 
his decisions.
  Judge Gorsuch was nominated to his current position on the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 
2006. As a testament to Judge Gorsuch's exceptional credentials, the 
Senate confirmed him by unanimous voice vote. Several current Members 
of the Senate from both parties, including Minority Leader Schumer, 
supported Judge Gorsuch's confirmation. The people spoke last November, 
and our new President has put forward a well-respected nominee whom the 
Senate has previously confirmed with unanimous support. It is time for 
Washington to work together as our constituents expect us to do, to 
help protect and defend our coequal branches of government and the rule 
of law. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch's dedication to interpreting the 
text of the Constitution and statutes as they are written rather than 
attempting to legislate from the bench will help to do just that.

  As Judge Gorsuch himself has stated in one of his opinions: ``A judge 
who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching 
for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.''
  I have had the great honor of meeting with Judge Gorsuch to learn 
more about his judicial philosophy, and over the next few days, the 
American people will also get to learn more about Judge Gorsuch through 
his confirmation hearing. I am confident they will also determine he is 
qualified to serve on our Nation's highest Court. I look forward to 
moving ahead to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with this eminently 
qualified nominee, and I thank him for his willingness to serve his 
country in this critically important role.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  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. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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