Senator Schumer on Supreme Court Nominee CSPAN April 1, 2017 3:15pm-3:26pm EDT
think, to happen, is, i going to continue to be very damaging to the senate and even to the country, so i hope he is still of that same mind that he is not inclined to filibuster the nomination of judge gorsuch. i know if he takes that position, he will influence a lot of other colleagues on the other side of the aisle because of his distinguished record of service and judiciary committee, so i looked over to the committee approving judge gorsuch's nomination next week nominationking that up on the senate floor and confirming the nomination of neil gorsuch to serve as the next associate justice on the united states supreme court. senator thune: thank you, mr. president. i announced my opposition to neil gorsuch and endeavored to explain why.
i don't believe he deserves to be elevated to a lifetime appointment. i listen to my friend the majority leader each morning. since the beginning of this congress, he has chopped up every democratic request or objection in this body to "sour ," some leftover resentment from the election. it's just not true, but he keeps trying. now he is trying the same strategy with judge gorsuch. he repeatedly cites a quote by a friend of the judge who, of course, said there is no principled reason to oppose this nomination. it must be, politics. that is what the majority leader concludes. i respectfully but wholeheartedly disagree with the majority leader on this point. there are several principled reasons to oppose judge gorsuch's nomination. first, judge gorsuch was unable to sufficiently convince me that he would be an independent check on the president, who has shown
almost no restraint from executive overreach. he could not point to a single thing in his record to guarantee independence, and he refused to publicly condemn what the president did after the three-judge panel and said if they do not decide my way, they will begin to terrorism. i have never seen anything like that in all my years in politics, and judge gorsuch refused to publicly condemn. he said privately he was disheartened. gorsuch shrugged his shoulders, going along with what the president said. second, he was unable to convince me he would be ld rule free from the biases of politics and ideology. his career, his early writings, and his judicial record suggests not just a neutral legal mind but instead someone with a
deep-seated conservative ideology. he was championed by the federalist society and the heritage foundation and has not shown one inch of difference between his views and theirs. i would ask my colleagues this question -- are all these groups who are spending dark, secret and undisclosed money to support his nomination doing so because they just want a justice on the court who will call balls and strikes? i doubt it. some here may agree with the heritage foundation, but they're not a mainstream organization. they're on the far right. that's their right to be, but their advocacy of judge gorsuch suggests he is not a balls and strikes guy. and finally, judge gorsuch is someone who almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak, corporations over working americans. that's what his record shows. judge gorsuch repeatedly sided with the insurance companies who wanted to deny disability benefits to employees and an
employment -- in employment discrimination cases, he sided with employers the great majority of the time. he wrote in dissent that trucking company executives were right to fire truck driver alphonse maddin for leaving his trailer in order to save his life. and just last week, we saw another example of how extreme judge gorsuch's views are when the supreme court unanimously rebuked his interpretation of the individual with disabilities act. in the opinion of even justice thomas, the educational rights judge gorsuch would allow to disabled students under the law amounted to no education at all. judge gorsuch's opportunity to disabuse us of these objections was in the hearing process, but he declined to substantively answer question after question. absent a real description of his judicial philosophy, all we have to go on is his record, a record that landed judge gorsuch on the
list of the conservative federalist society and heritage foundation. president trump, of course, selected judge gorsuch off these preapproved, conservative lists that he promised he would do during his campaign. to claim, as the majority leader does, that judge gorsuch is simply a neutral judge is belied by his history since his college days, his own judicial record and his manner of selection. mr. president, these are printed reasons to oppose judge gorsuch, even if people on the other side disagree with him. we need a justice who will be an independent check on a president. we need someone who will consider fairly the plight of average citizens, not further tip the scales of justice in an already -- in favor of already powerful corporations. judge gorsuch, his record and his performance in the hearing did nothing to show me that he could be that signed of justice. so when republicans say that if
democrats won't support judge gorsuch, we won't support any republican-nominated judge, that's simply not true. it may be hard for us to support anyone from a list culled by the federalist society and the heritage foundation, but we have several reasons to be concerned with judge gorsuch specifically. and for all the hand wringing by my friends on the other side of the aisle that they cannot imagine democrats voting against judge gorsuch, i would like to remind them that only three, three of the current senators on the republican side voted for either of president obama's confirmed nominees, and all of them went along with my friend, the majority leader's unprecedented plan to refuse president obama's third nominee, judge garland, even a hearing or a vote for nearly a year. which brings us back to the present day where we democrats have participated in a fair, transparent and thorough process of advise and consent. now that the time to decide
whether to provide consent approaches, we take that responsibility seriously. a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land is not something to be taken lightly. to participate in hearings and a thorough process, something we were denied, does not mean you have to be a rubber stamp. and after a thorough review of judge gorsuch's record, many of my colleagues and i have concluded we cannot consent. now, if judge gorsuch fails to reach 60 votes, it's not because democrats are being obstructionists. it's because he failed to convince 60 senators that he belongs on the supreme court. my friend, the majority leader, made the decision to break 230 years of senate precedent by holding this seat open for over a year. if the nominee cannot earn the support of 60 senators, the answer is not to break precedent by fundamentally and permanently changing the rules and traditions of the senate.
the answer is to change the nominee. this idea that if judge gorsuch doesn't get 60 votes, the majority leader has to inexorably change the rules of the senate, that idea is utter bunk, utter bunk. it is the free choice of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to pursue a change in rules if that's what they decide, and i'd remind the majority leader that he doesn't come to this decision with clean hands. he blocked merrick garland for over a year, we wouldn't even be here if judge garland was given fair consideration. that's why we are here today, not because of any democrat. finally on the wall, mr. president, a place where there may be more agreement between some of us than on judge garland, last night we learned that the trump administration will be seeking deep cuts to critical domestic programs in order to pay for a border wall.
the administration is asking the american taxpayer to cover the cost of a wall, unneeded, ineffective, absurdly expensive that mexico was supposed to pay for, and he is cutting programs that are vital to the middle class in order to get that done. they want to cut the new starts transportation program, tiger grants. these are the lifeblood of our road and tunnel and bridge-building efforts. build the wall or repair or build a bridge or tunnel or road in your community? what's the choice? they want to cut off n.i.h. funding for cancer research to pay for the wall. how many americans would support that decision? and they want to cut programs that create jobs and improve people's lives. also the president can get his, quote, big, beautiful wall, unquote, a wall that we don't need and will be utterly ineffective. think about that.
the president wants to slow down cancer research and make the middle-class taxpayer shoulder the cost of a wall that mexico was supposed to pay for. he wants to cut funding for roads and bridges, to build a wall that mexico was supposed to pay for. mr. president, the proposed cuts the administration sent up last night will not receive the support of very many people, i believe, in this chamber. these cuts would be bad for the american people. they're not what the american people want, and they're completely against one of the president's core promises in his campaign, and they will be vigorously opposed, i believe, by members on both sides of the aisle. thank you, mr. president. i yield the senator from south dakota. a senator: mr. president, last week the senate judiciary committee held hearings of judge gorsuch to the supreme court. everything we heard from this nominee confirmed what has been clear from the beginning. mr. thune: judge gorsuch is the kind of judge all of us