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tv   Senator Thune on Supreme Court Nominee  CSPAN  April 1, 2017 3:25pm-3:38pm EDT

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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 should
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want on the nation's highest court. judge gorsuch obviously has a distinguished resume. he graduated with honors from harvard law school and went on to receive a doctorate in legal philosophy from oxford university where he was a marshall scholar. he clerked for two supreme court justices, byron white and anthony kennedy and he worked in both private practice and at the justice department before being nominated to the tenth circuit court of appeals where he served with distinction for ten years. he's widely regarded as a brilliant and thoughtful jurist and a gifted writer whose opinions are known for their clarity. most importantly, however, judge gorsuch understands the proper role of a judge, and that role is to interpret the law, not make the law, to judge, not legislate, to call balls and strikes, not rewrite the rules of the game. mr. president, it's great to have strong opinions.
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it's great to have sympathy for causes or organizations. it's great to have plans for fixing society's problems. but none of those things has any business influencing your ruling when you sit on the bench. your job as a judge is to apply the law as it is written. and here's the fundamental thing, mr. president. even when you disagree with it. a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad june. judge gorsuch has said more than once. why? because a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is likely making decisions based on something other than the law. and that's a problem. equal justice under the law, equal protection under the law, these principles become meaningless when judges step outside of their role and start changing the meaning of the law to suit their feelings about a case or their personal opinions. mr. president, judge gorsuch's
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nomination has attracted support from both sides of the political spectrum. i think the main reason for that is because both liberals and conservatives know that they can trust judge gorsuch to rule based on the plain text of the law irrespective of his personal opinions. here's what neal katyal, an acting solicitor general for president obama had to say about judge gorsuch and i quote. i have no doubt that if confirmed, judge gorsuch will help to restore confidence in the rule of law. his years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence, record that should give the american people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the president who appointed him, end quote. the colorado springs gazette recently highlighted a letter signed by 96 prominent colorado lawyers and judges and sent to the senior senator from colorado. here's what those individuals had to say about judge gorsuch and i quote again. we hold a diverse set of
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political views as republicans, democrats, and independents. many of us have been critical of actions taken by president trump. nonetheless, we all agree that judge gorsuch is an exceptionally well qualified person to join the supreme court. we know that judge gorsuch to be a person of utmost character. he is fair, decent, and honest, both as a judge and a person. his record shows that he believes strongly in the independence of the judiciary, end quote. a former law partner and friend of judge gorsuch, a friend who describes himself as, quote, a long-time supporter of democrat candidates and progressive causes had this to say about the judge. gorsuch's approach to resolving legal problems as a lawyer and a judge embodies a reference for our country -- reverence for our country's values and legal system. the facts developed in a case
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matter to him. the legal rules established by legislatures and through precedent deserve deep respect in the porps of treating litigants, colleagues with civility is deeply engrained in him. i have no doubt that i will disagree with some decisions that gorsuch might render as a supreme court justice. yet my hope is to have justices on the bench such as gorsuch who approach cases with fairness and intellectual rigor and who care about precedent and the limits of their roles as judges. again, mr. president, that's from a self-described, long-time supporter of democrat candidates and progressive causes. during his years on the bench, judge gorsuch has had a number of law clerks. on february 14 every one of judge gorsuch's former clerks except for two currently clerking at the supreme court sent a letter on his nomination to the chairman and ranking member of the senate judiciary
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committee, and here's what they had to say. our political views span the spectrum, but we are united in our view that judge gorsuch is an extraordinary judge. throughout his career, judge gorsuch has devoted himself to the rule of law. he believes firmly that the role of the judge in our democracy is to apply the laws made by the political branches. that is, to adhere to our constitution and the statutes our elected representatives have enacted and not to confuse those things with the judge's own policy preferences. as law clerks who have worked at his side, we know that judge gorsuch never resolves a case by the light of his personal view of what the law should be. nor does he ever bend the law to reach a particular result he desires. for judge gorsuch, a judge's task is not to usurp the legislature's role. it is to find and apply the law as written.
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that conviction makes him an exemplary candidate to serve on the highest court. end quote. mr. president, that again is the unanimous opinion of 39 of judge gorsuch's former law clerks whose political views, in their own words, span the spectrum. unfortunately, no amount of testimony in favor of judge gorsuch will ever be enough for some senate democrats. senate minority leader took to the floor last week to announce a determination to oppose judge gorsuch's nomination. he also announced his determination to push for a filibuster of judge gorsuch's nomination. the minority leader's reasons? well, for starters, the minority leader partnersly doesn't trust that judge gorsuch will use the bench to implement the leader's preferred policies. he disagrees with some of judge gorsuch's opinions and he seems
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that sufficient reason to bar him from the supreme court. the minority leader demonstrated little interest as to whether judge gorsuch's interpretations were correct. for the minority leader, it is about getting one's outcome. the minority leader also mentioned another reason for opposing judge gorsuch. he doesn't trust the judge to be independent or impartial, even though liberals and conservatives alike have praised judge gorsuch's independence and impartiality as two of his defining characteristics. the minority leader also made the laughable claim that judge gorsuch is somehow out of the judicial mainstream. well, let me just quote what "the wall street journal" said on this subject. "judge gorsuch has written some 800 opinions since joining the 10th circuit court of appeals in 2006. only 1.75% or 14 opinions out of
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800 drew dissents from his colleagues. that makes 98% of his opinions unanimous, even on a circuit where seven of the 12 active judges were aintertod by democratic presidents, five by republicans." let me just repeat that last line, mr. president. that makes 98% of his opinions unanimous even on a circuit where seven 1269 active judges were appointed by democratic presidents. i wonder, mr. president, if the minority leader intended to suggest that the entire 10th circuit is composed of extremist judges or that all of the judges on the 10th circuit lack impartiality or independence because logically speaking, if you're going to suggest that judge gorsuch is an extremist, then you would have to argue that his colleagues, who agreed with his opinions 98% of the
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time, are extremists too. well, mr. president, the truth is democrat opposition to judge gorsuch has zero to do with whether or not judge gorsuch meets the qualifications of a supreme court justice. it's obvious that the judge has all the qualifications that one could want in a justice. no, democrats are opposing judge gorsuch because they're mad, they're mad that their party didn't win the presidential election, they're mad that their party doesn't have control of congress, and they're mad that they are having to consider a judge nominated by a republican president. it doesn't matter how qualified judge gorsuch is, how impartial he is, how independent he is. some democrats are just going to oppose him anyway. mr. president, this isn't the first time judge gorsuch has been before this body. back in 2006 the senate
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considered judge gorsuch's nomination to the tenth circuit. at that time, the judge's nomination sailed through the senate. both of his home state senators, both a democrat and one a republican, supported his nomination, and he was confirmed by unanimous vote. then-senator obama could have objected to the nomination, but he didn't much the current minority leader who was serving in the senate at that time could have objected to the nomination, but he didn't. then-senators biden or clinton could have objected to the nomination, but they didn't. why? presumably because they saw what almost everybody sees today: that judge gorsuch is exactly the kind of judge we want on the bench -- supremely qualified, thoughtful, fair, and impartial. it's incredibly disappointing that some democrats are now planning to oppose this eminently qualified supreme court nominee simply because they can't deal with losing an
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election. mr. president, the senate has a nearly 230-year tradition of approving supreme court nominees by a simple majority vote. there has never been a successful partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee. 230 years, and the only ones that had ever attempted one are the democrats. while some democrats may follow the minority leader in opposing judge gorsuch, i'm hopeful that others are listen to the many voices, liberal and conservative, speaking out in support of his nomination. there is no good reason to oppose judge gorsuch, and there is every reason, mr. president, to support him. it's time to confirm this supremely qualified judge to the supreme court.consent that the e suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i rise to speak on the nomination of judge gorsuch to serve on the u.s. supreme court. it's important to reflect for a moment on how wee


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