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tv   Senator Merkley Gardner Perdue and Lankford on Supreme Court Nominee  CSPAN  April 1, 2017 10:03pm-10:54pm EDT

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of republican appointees that has relentlessly stretched the law to benefit republicans and -- republican partisans and corporations at the expense of everyone else. he convinced me he would stand up to real threats of democracy like dark money. over and over again during his hearing, he dodged and ducked and failed. oncolleagues are calling judge neil gorsuch to ask this dark money group backing his nomination to tell us who is behind him. we are calling on the group directly to come clean to the american people about their backers. we need that answer before the vote on monday. >> throughout the week, lawmakers and spoke on the senate floor about the nomination of judge neil gorsuch. here is a portion of the date from wednesday, starting with senator jeff merkley of organ. -- of oregon. merkley: the most important
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words of our constitution are the first three words. our founders made sure those words were displayed -- we, the people, in supersized font. so, generations later, we would not forget what our constitution is all about. our constitution was not crafted to create a government making decisions by and for the powerful. it wasn't crafted to prepare a government that would make decisions by and for the privileged. that was the power of the we the people vision. as president lincoln so eloquently stated, a government of, by, and for the people. that is the vision that we have the responsibility of maintaining. and it is a vision that is facing a dramatic test this
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coming week. a test that affects the integrity of this body, a test that affects the integrity of the supreme court. january of last year, a supreme court seat came open. whicheme court seat for the president had a responsibility to nominate a replacement, a new justice to serve on the court. senate had ae responsibility. a responsibility to exercise advice and consent. the meant we would vet nominee, that we would research. we would have a committee hearing. we would have committee vote. and if afforded to the floor, we would have a floor debate. but for the very first time in
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the history of the united states of america, the majority party decided that it would not exercise its constitutional responsibility, that it instead from steal this seat president obama's administration, wrap it up, pack it into a time capsule, send it into the future, in hopes that they would be able to succeed by packing the court by having a different president, a more conservative president proceed to fill the vacancy. i am going to go through the 16 cases in our history where there has been a vacancy during an election year. and in 15 cases, the senate acted. chamber year, this refused to act, for the first
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time, trying to exercise a seat stealing scheme. that diabolical act against our institution will have final chapter of discussion next week. i think it is important that the members of the senate understand the history of the united states of america and the setting in which this debate is going to occur. if you read the constitution from start to finish, nowhere does it say that the senate has the option of refusing to consider a supreme court nominee in the final year of a presidency. announcedegy was within hours of judge scalia
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dying. and why would the majority choose to reject their responsibility under their oath of office? why would they choose to do that? certainly it wasn't because merrick garland wasn't qualified. he hadn't been nominated yet. certainly it wasn't because there was a precedent, because there was no precedent in u.s. history for stealing a supreme court seat. but here is what transpired. the majority said, this might be a nominee who will fight for the "we the people" vision of our constitution. we don't want that because we are committed to a different vision. a government by and for the most powerful people in the united states in america. we want to make sure that court has a 5-4 majority to turn the
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constitution on its head, destroying the vision that our constitution was designed for. while the president proceeded to do his response ability coming -- his responsibility, despite the fact that the majority would not honor its results abilities under the constitution. the president said he would honor his responsibility and nominated merrick garland on march 16. the story in the chamber was if he was on this floor, he would have plenty of votes. for more than 60 to be confirmed. that hardened the competition. there were more than 60 senators that were going to say yes, let's embrace this mainstream judge that wants to fight for this "we the people" constitution. but the leadership said no.
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what have we seen unfold in the last few years of dark money ruling campaigns? in 2014, we saw the koch brothers decided that they wanted to control this chamber. spendaid, we are going to vast sums to elect a majority that will respond to our perspective as billionaires, coal and oil billionaires who kind of like the government by and for the powerful. they spend huge sums of money in louisiana and colorado and alaska, and in my home state of oregon. and they won most of those seats. and suddenly there was the majority they had hoped for. they sent a warning message to the republican leadership in the form of this. in january 2014, the koch
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brothers said, pay attention, because we plan to spend billions of dollars in the next election two years from now, and if you cross us, you might know the consequences. we can spend in primaries as well as general elections. that is the background on how the senate majority decided to steal this seat for the first time in u.s. history. just to make sure we are checking all of our facts on this, let's take a look at those various vacancies. as i have mentioned, there have been 16 in our history. in one group of nominations, those vacancies occurred after the election. there was very little time for the senate to act. jay, president john
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on december 18. about that point in time, the new president took office in march. this wasn't very much time, but nonetheless the senate acted and confirmed the nominee. in an interesting twist of fate, the nominee turns down the coast. -- turned down the post. or the nomination of ulysses s. grant in the summer of 1872, a couple months before the next president would come in. but the senate acted. or let's take a look at william woods, the nominee from president rutherford hayes, also nominated in december of that year, just months before the new president would come in, but
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nevertheless the senate acted. in these cases, they confirm the nominee in that short amount of time. they vetted, they acted, they fulfilled their responsibility under the constitution. that is one group. there is another group of nominees in an election year where the vacancy occurred before the election, but the nominee was nominated after the election. there are four in that group. we have president john quincy adams. he nominated him was in again, just a28, few months before the new president would take office. and by the senate. the senate chose to postpone the action, but they acted. they took a vote. they decided.
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jeremiah black, the nominee in february 1861, trfs there was -- there was a motion to proceed. they rejected. we have a nominee in 1864 by aibham lincoln and that nominee was confirmed. and finally under dwight eisenhower that nomination was confirmed as well. in those cases even though the nomination occurred after the election and there was little time, the senate acted. there's a set of nine more nominations that occurred in election year, and these are cases where both the nomination -- the vacancy occurred before the election and the nomination occurred before the election. nominee william johnson under
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thomas jefferson. final result, senate acted, they confirmed. edward king, under president john tyler. the senate acted and they rejected that nomination, but they acted. they tabled it. edward bradford under millard fillmore proceeded to reject the nomination but the senate acted. melville fuller, nominee under grover cleveland, confirmed. realize this was in may of that year. george shiras under benjamin harrison, confirmed. that happened in july that the nomination occurred. brandeis under woodrow wilson. nominated in january, confirmed. and john clark, also under
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woodrow wilson, nominated in july, confirmed. all of these were before the election in a parallel case to the situation with justice justice scalia passing away in an election year. cadoza nom named by hoover, confirmed. i mentioned 15 cases in our history in election year, and in each and every case the senate acted. each and every case except for the tragedy, the desecration of the senate process that occurred last year. merrick garland, nominated by barack obama in february, no action. first no action in u.s. history.
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first stolen seat in u.s. history. let's understand that this is politics out of control when senators would ignore their oath of office, would proceed to engage in a court-packing scheme and steal a supreme court seat. this is politics completely unhinged. this is driven by the dark money of the koch brothers. this is the powerful behind-the-scenes put up master -- puppet master telling the senate what to do. they can't afford to have a justice that hasn't been properly vetted on think tanks on how they will vote on citizens united possibly get on the supreme court. no one knew how merrick garland would vote on citizens united. on the democratic side we were worried that he might sustain
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it. on the republican side they worried that he might strike it down and be a we the people justice. but instead of engaging in responsible senate action required by our oath of office, for the first time in u.s. history, the majority, driven by a powerful special interest, the koch brothers, decided to steal the seat. that's the setting in which next week's debate will occur over merrick garland. we've heard some very self-righteous words coming from the majority side saying -- look how qualified he is. how could you possibly say there is anything wrong with this nomination. i ask my fellow colleagues to realize the reality of what they are engaged in. that they have a responsibility and that every senate majority in u.s. history exercised that
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responsibility until last year, and it corresponds to this enormous growth of dark, secret money under citizens united entering our campaigns. it corresponds to the threat that the koch brothers made in january of 2015 that they were going to spend nearly $1 billion in the 2016 election. one of our republican colleagues said he thought the senate should do their job. he thought we should hold a debate. we should hold a vote. there was a tremendous pressure brought to bear on that colleague from the suppliers of this dark money and three days later he changed his position. this is a corruption of the very foundation of our democracy. and that is why there's only one legitimate nominee that president trump should put
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forward to end this act of theft, to honor the integrity of the responsibility of the senate, and that's merrick garland. we don't know where he stands on lots of issues. he's been a judge that came right down the middle. he's been a judge that everybody respected. he wasn't from the extreme. but the process of -- was to get a judge where everyone knew where he would stood because they wanted to make sure we sustained citizens united. so this is why there is a tragedy unfolding right now and i urge the american people to pay attention because the very foundations of our democracy of the integrity of our institutions are being shattered, degraded, destroyed
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right before our eyes. and those who care about the constitution, knows who care -- those who care about the integrity of the senate doing its job under oath, those who care about the integrity of the court must stand up and say no to this effort to pack the cou court. one of the arguments colleagues made not knowing the history of the united states was there just wasn't time, just not enough time to consider a nominee. so here is a little bit of information. we'll get the right chart up here owe owe regarding the -- here -- regarding the time. since the 1980's, every person appointed to the supreme court has been given a prompt hearing
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and vote within 100 days. since 1975, the average is 67 days. so to those who said this seat opened up in january and there wasn't time left to have the senate exercise its responsibility, you can see that they were just presenting a falsehood, that there was plenty of time for the senate to exercise its responsibility. to those who said well, the nomination didn't come until march, there were still ten months left. so from the time that garland, merrick garland was nominated, 293 days were left in the administration. for kagan consideration took 88 days. for sotomayor 67. for alito 83. for roberts 63.
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for breyer, 74. ginsburg 51. do you hear any numbers equivalent to 293 days? or let's look at thomas at 69 days and kennedy at 65. scalia himself at 85. rhenquist at 89. o connor at 33. they all fall into the same pattern. a couple months for the paperwork to be done, the investigation to be completed, the committee to hold hearings and act. but there's garland with 293 days, the senate failing to act. so this simply reinforces the pretense put forward that there wasn't enough time or that there was a tradition of not considering a nominee who for a seat that became available in an
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election year. because it happened 15 times previously in our history, and all 15 times the senate acted, every single one. so every argument put forward was phony, was wrong, was based on falsehood. it was driven by dark money, puppeteers of this chamber wanting to make sure that they could keep open their citizens united money corrupting american campaigns and debasing our democratic republic. so to everyone who cares about the integrity of the senate and the integrity of the court, let this senate know that they must return to respecting this institution and to respecting the court, and that means that merrick garland must be the nominee until the senate has acted on him and that the nominee before us must be rejected. to do anything else is to
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desecrate the integrity of the court and this chamber. thank you, mr. president. mr. gardner: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor once again today to talk about the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch to the united states supreme court. 230 years of our nation's history there has never been -- the nation's history on the constitution, never been a successful partisan filibuster of a supreme court justice. what i mean by that is this. no supreme court nominee has ever been killed by a partisan filibuster on the floor of the united states senate. sure, you can argue in 1968 about the bipartisan attempt to make sure that then justice -- associate justice abe fortas wasn't elevated to the chief justice position, but what this chamber is facing today isn't a
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question of whether we will abide by the biden rule. the biden rule of course was when joe biden said during the last term of the president -- the outgoing president's office up for election that we're not going to confirm any nominees. this isn't an argument over whether chuck schumer was right when then senator chuck schumer said that heck, over the last couple of years of the bush administration we're not going to allow a justice to be confirmed. that's not what we are arguing about today. we are arguing about whether a brilliant legal mind, a judge who has proven incredible legal temperament over the past several months since his nomination, a judge who has agreed 97% of the time with the majority decisions of the court should receive an up-or-down vote. make no doubt this is a historic opportunity for this chamber to come together to prove that we believe in that 230-year
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precedent of confirming supreme court justices. this is the opportunity that we have to come together on a judge who just 11 years ago was confirmed unanimously by voice vote. there was no opposition 11 years ago to then judge gorsuch when he was confirmed to be placed on the tenth circuit court which is based in denver. remind you, denver district-based court, the tenth circuit court based out of denver, colorado, covers about 20% of our nation's landmass. it's a huge, huge area. this is a court that deals with public land cases. this is a court that deals with water issues, a complex federal public land issues, tribal issues. this is a judge who has been a part of 2700 opinions, voting 97% of the time with the majority of the court. now, the majority of the court isn't all george w. bush or george h.w. bush or ronald reagan nominees. nominees in the tenth circuit court are bipartisan justices.
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it's filled with democratic and republican appointees. that's the tenth circuit court, somebody who judge gorsuch has worked with. judge gorsuch has been somebody who is known as a feeder judge. a feeder judge is somebody that the supreme court when they are looking to select clerks to help the justices do their work, they look to judge gorsuch to provide them with the law clerks to help them at the supreme court. they do that because he is an incredible and outstanding jurist, somebody who has the respect on both sides of the aisle, republican and democrat. that's why he's a feeder judge. that's why he was confirmed 11 years ago by a bipartisan body of the united states senators. now, the last couple of weeks we've seen days worth of hearings where each senator has been able to speak for an hour or so questioning judge gorsuch. days worth of hearings the
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american people witnessed as judge gorsuch laid out his legal philosophy, his temperament, and i think displayed the even temperament that we need on a supreme court, the kind of temperament that not only is able to work with colleagues but understand complex legal cases, that 11 years ago the -- his nomination, his confirmation was so noncontroversial that when it came to his confirmation, senator lindsey graham is the only one who showed up. he was the only one at the confirmation hearing. that's how non-controversial it was. what a difference a court makes. let's talk about some of the senators who supported him or at least didn't object to him 11 years ago. then minority leader chuck schumer, senator schumer didn't oppose judge gorsuch at the time. neil gorsuch to the tenth circuit court. senator leahy, a member of the judiciary committee did not object to judge gorsuch.
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senator feinstein, another member of the judiciary committee didn't oppose neil gorsuch. senator durbin, the minority whip, did not oppose neil gorsuch 11 years ago. senator cantwell, senator carper, senator menendez, senator murray, noun of them opposed judge gorsuch's confirmation to the tenth circuit court. senator reed, senator wyden, all of them are here today. none of them objected to neil gorsuch. it's even more than that. then senator barack obama did not object to judge gorsuch's confirmation. then senator hillary clinton didn't object to judge gorsuch's nomination. and then senator joe biden helped pass his confirmation, his appointment, make sure it cleared on a voice vote. and so to hear the partisan bickering here is extremely disappointing and disingenuous. and so i hope this chamber will do what we do best in this country and that's come together on issues of doing our job of confirming a supreme court
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justice after spending the past several months complaining that the supreme court wasn't filled. this judge should receive bipartisan support as it did 11 years ago. and i guess the question has to be asked to people who are now opposing judge gorsuch today who either supported or did not object to him 11 years ago, did they not do their work 11 years ago? did they not realize he was a bad judge? or is the time of politics changed? or are we just dealing with a president who they decided they don't want to have a supreme court justice from? i guess that's what's perhaps changed the most over the past 11 years. because there's not really a narrative that you can point to for a reason of why you should oppose him other than people just deciding the politics of the now require it. and that is incredibly disappointing.
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and if you look at judge gorsuch's statements, he talks about justice scol's -- justice scalia's vision of the good and faithful june. i think it's a worthy one that we focus on. because what it means to justice -- judge gorsuch, soon to be justice gorsuch is this. to be a good and faithful judge. it seems to me that the separation of legislative and judicial powers isn't just a formality dictated by the constitution. neither is it just about ensuring that two institutions with basically identical functions are balanced one against the other. to the founders the legislative and judicial powers were disfint by nature -- distint by nature and their separation is one of the most important liberty devices of constitutional design, an independent right ever the people essential to the preservation of all other rights, later enumerated in the constitution and its amendments. now consider if we allowed the judge to act like a legislator unconstrained by the bicameralism and presentment hurd hims of article one, the
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judge would need only his own vote or those of just a few colleagues to revise the law willy-nilly in accordance with his preferences and the task of legislating would become a relatively simple thing. notice how hard it would be to revise the easily made judicial legislation to account for changes in the world or to fix mistakes, unable to throw judges out of office in regular elections you'd have to wait for them to die before you would have any chance of change. even then you'd find change difficult for courts cannot so easily undo their errors given the weight they afford press don't. notice how little voice people would be left in a government where life appointed governments are free to legislate alongside representatives. the idea of self-government would seem to witter to the point of pointlessness. it seems for reasons just like these hamilton explained that, quote, liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone but that it has everything to fear from the union of the judicial and legislative powers.
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that's the explanation that judge gorsuch has given to justice scalia's good and faithful judge. a judge who believes that the judicial branch is the guardian of the constitution to take a decision or a question before them to the place that the law leads them to, not to the place where politics sends them or politics demands them or personal opinions and beliefs dictate. you've heard judge gorsuch say that he believes a judge who believes -- who personally believes or agrees with every opinion he reaches is probably a bad judge. it's because judge gorsuch knows that -- once you put on the robe, you don't follow your personal opinion. you follow the law. that guardian of the constitution, the "federalist papers" talked about. and so that's the kind of nominee that we are dealing with, a nominee who understands the separation of powers, who understands the role of the
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judiciary, the role of the legislative branch and the role of the executive. in fact, he believes the executive branch has been empowered too greatly. and that we should once again have separate but equal branches of government balanced in power. i think that's a god judge to -- a good judge to place on the branch, a judge who has the temperament to work with colleagues to make our country proud and certainly as a fourth-generation coloradan, i am proud that he has been nominated by the president. in addition to the bipartisan support that judge gorsuch received here 11 years ago, he also has tremendous bipartisan support back home in colorado. in fact, i have a letter here, mr. president, a letter from jim leones, a personal friend of president bill clinton. i write this letter in strong support of the nomination and confirmation of neil gorsuch for
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associate justice of the united states supreme court. ends his letter with, judge gorsuch's intellect, energy,age deep regard for the constitution are well-phone to those who have worked with him and have seen firsthand his commitment to the constitution. former governor of colorado, democrat bill right,supports the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch. then-senator ken salazar 11 years ago spoke highly about the temperament, saying that judge gorsuch in 2006 meant the -- met the very high test that requires someone to be a great judge, that he has demonstrated a dedication to fairness. "the denver post" editorial board, which came out in support of hillary clinton, argued for his nomination saying, a justice who does his best to interpret
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the constitution and apply the law of the land without prejudice could go far to restore faith in the highest court of the land. neal catchall, former personnel in the obama administration, stated his support for neil gorsuch. i'm confident neil gorsuch will live up to the promise of respect to persons, equal rights to poor and rich. "the washington post" editorial board, many others in colorado's legal community, including the former cochair of the host committee of the democratic national convention in 2008 supports the confirmation of neil gorsuch. this is not a partisan judge -- judicial appointment. this is a judge who has strong bipartisan support from the people who know him best, and i hope that we can live up to that -- the high, noble intention of our constitution
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for the purpose of the senate to make sure that we're confirming somebody to do a lifetime service for this country in a way that respects our constitution, the people of this country. and i hope that over the next several days as we debate the nomination that we will move away from this cliff of changing two centuries' worth of precedent in this body and instead come together in a way that befits the best nature of our country. mr. president, i thank you for this opportunity to speak and come to the floor. and with that, i yield the floor. mr. perdue: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. perdue: mr. president, i rise today to speak about one of the greatest honors and privileges that we enjoy here in the united states senate. as outlined in article 2, section 2, of the constitution, one of the real honors of serving here in the united states senate is the opportunity to offer advice and consent for
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nominees to the united states supreme court. these are lifetime appointments. nine individuals throughout most of our history determine the balance that we keep between the three branches of government. it's so important -- and this body has historically treated it in such a solemn manner -- that in over 230 years of our history, no nominee to the united states supreme court has ever been denied a seat through the use of a partisan filibuster. unfortunately right now, members -- colleagues from the other side of the aisle are threatening that very precedent. as i said on the floor earlier this year, president donald trump promised the american people he would nominate an unwakering supporters of the constitution to fill the vacancy left by the late-justice scalia. this president has kept his
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promise. he has nominated somebody who was nominated here in the united states senate by a voice vote by members who are still here in the united states senate, many of them. this was a nomination to the 10th circuit, a roll that this man, the nominee, filled with great honor and much distinction. judge neil gorsuch's record of service lives up to the highest standards for a federal judge. his academic and legal records are impeccable. he has demonstrated a keen understanding and appreciation for the rule of law. and he spokes so articulately in hour after hour of interrogation actually in his confirmation hearing just last week. most importantly, mr. president, judge gorsuch has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the constitution and to our founding principles of economic opportunity, fiscal
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responsibility, limited government, and, most importantly, individual liberty. his testimony last week before the united states senate judiciary committee was masterful. it absolutely convinced me that he's the man for this job. judge gorsuch listened to questions carefully, responded thoughtfully, and he gave an indication into his own demeanor that he would use in the united states supreme court. judge gorsuch listened to questions carefully. over and over, he illustrated the ability to show a balance of judgment, which is what we look for in a lifetime appointment like this. he made it abundantly clear that the role of the justice is to interpret the law. in my own individual meeting with judge gorsuch, these same qualities stood o i was very
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impressed with his disarming nature and the ability to talk about issues without necessarily showing bias of his own opinion. because of all this i know he will serve as a justice in the mold of justice scalia; that is, a balanced judiciary member. mr. president, i should also point out that this is not a partisan viewpoint, but conservatives and liberals have come out in support of judge gorsuch's confirmation over and over through the past week since his nomination. neal katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under barack obama, has described judge gorsuch as, and i quote, an extraordinary judge and man, unquote. the american bar association, which many members of this body hold as a gold standard for judicial nominees, actually gave judge gorsuch its highest rating, something they don't do very often. it did so unanimously also, by
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the way. mr. president, those who know judge gorsuch best, regardless of their political persuasion, have offered ample praise and abiding respect for this well-qualified nominee. if confirmed, i have full faith that judge gorsuch's rulings will be just and rooted in the letter of the law. but, mr. president, this nomination and confirmation right now comes at a time in our -- the history of this republic that is absolutely crucial that we have a balanced jurist as a member -- as the ninth member of this supreme court. jonathan turley, a constitutional law professor at george washington university right here in washington, says that this past administration has created a constitutional crisis the likes of which our country has never seen. professor turley talks about how a president now has shown future presidents a new precedent of
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how to run the government without congress, by blocking the senate and actually creating the fourth arm of government -- the regulators. i think this is the time in the history of our rope that we have to reestablish the balance of power between the three power, the legislative underreach, the executive overreach and now the establishment that rules coming from regulators have every much the same weight as laws produced right here behind debate in the united states senate and the united states congress. this is a time that we have to have a jurist that will bring a balanced view for all americans to be represented in the united states supreme court. i'm proud to have the opportunity to support this nominee. i urge my colleagues in the senate to put partisan interests aside, to put the best interests of the country first, and to confirm neil gorsuch as the next justice of the supreme court. mr. president, i take this as a
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huge, huge privilege to speak out today, and i will speak more next week on the history of this nomination, and i thank you for the opportunity to speak, and i yield my time. mr. lankford: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma.
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mr. lankford: there's been a long conversation about a supreme court justice. quite frankly, there should be a long conversation. when you talk about a supreme court justice, this is someone who serves on the court for life. i.t. got to be right. -- it's got to be right. the long conversation about neil gorsuch is coming to a head. in the next week, he'll come to this floor, he'll face final debate, and the very long confirmation process will end with him joining the supreme court as the ninth justice. when he'sed ad on as an associate -- when he's added on as an associate justice, it won't have been a short journey. he's met with every single senator face to face. he's been in very long hearings. he sat down hour after hour multiple days answering
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questions from senators in the judiciary committee. then a vote from the judiciary committee, and then coming to this floor. there's been research into his background in every case, everything he's ever written, every speech he's ever written has been examined overwhelming overwhelmingly. and at the end of that, he's been found to be a very serious member of the judiciary. in this body in 2006, he was put on the 10th circuit, a circuit that oklahoma happens to be in. it was a unanimous vote in the senate in 2006. -- for him to join the tenth circuit. he was seen as a consistent, solid, mainstream, fair judge, which means senator joe biden voted for him, hillary clinton voted for him, chuck schumer voted for him, barack obama voted for him in 2006. after going through all of his
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background leading up to that point. since that time, what has happened? has he left the mainstream during that time period when he was overwhelmingly voted here unanimously out of the senate to be on the tenth circuit? since that time he's been a part of 2,700 cases in the last decade. 2,00. -- 2,700. of those 2,700 cases, 97% of them were unanimous. 99% of the cases he was in the majority in those opinions. 99%. only one percent of the time he was not in the majority of the decision. so you may ask, who is the tenth circuit court that he's working with, this large group of judges that are in that court? let me give you the basics of it. of the tenth circuit that's there right now that he was in the majority with 99% of the time, five of the other judges were obama appointees.
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five of them were george w. bush appointees. three of them were clinton appointees. three of them were reagan appointees. one was bush 41 and two of them were from president carter. that's the group he was voting with in the majority 99% of the time. he was seen by this senate in 2006 to be a solid mainstream jurist. since that time period, 99% of the time in a very diverse tenth circuit. c.r.s. in their background research with him said that his opinions, judge gorsuch's opinions, had the fewest number of dis-accidents of -- dissents of anyone in the tenth circuit. when he wrote the opinion, his colleagues disagreed with him the fewest number of times of anyone on the tenth circuit. he is a solid jurist, respected around the country and one that
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deserves not only an intense investigation but deserves to be put on the supreme court of the united states. i look forward to voting for him next week. and i would hope in the process as we support him, we also step up and do a process that's been consistent with this country for the last 230 years of how we process through judges. that is, we have an up-or-down vote, they're not blocked by a cloture vote to keep them from getting to a final vote. the judge is here. get an up-or-down vote. that's the way that we've done it. of the eight justices that are sitting on the bench right now, only one of them even had a cloture vote at all, and that one wasn't even close. it was 72-25 and that was judge alito. but just to walk through the brief history of some of the recent judges and some of the things that have happened and how it is absurd that we would even be discussing a filibuster of a supreme court justice. justice kagan was approved by a vote of 63-37.
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it was bipartisan support coming out of the committee. i can assure you there wasn't bipartisan support for policy positions. for some reason judge gorsuch is being accused of being partisan or political or somehow connected to the president so that would disqualify him. ironically justice kagan was a member of the white house staff before she was nominated to be -- to go on to the court. that was not considered disqualifying when it was justice kagan and it was republics -- republicans in the minority looking at it. they considered everyone should be looked at fairly based on their qualifications. she was coming directly from the white house staff on to the supreme court. justice sotomayor was approved by a vote of 68-31. again bipartisan support. even in committee. clarence thomas, one of most controversial nominees in this
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last century. came out of the committee with a divided committee. after the vote failed, the committee then voted to send his nomination to the floor without a recommendation. he then passed on a floor vote of 52-48. there was never a request for a cloture vote. no one filibustered him, not one person. if clarence thomas would have had a filibuster threat facing him, he wouldn't be on the court today. he's been an excellent jurist on the supreme court. but he came out during a time when there weren't these idle threats. it's even interesting that robert bourque who is currently not on the court, his vote failed 42-58. but that was a failed final vote, robert bork did not face a filibuster threat. he was brought to a final up-or-down vote. i can go on and on to walk through the judges and justices and how they've gone through the process, but there's been a
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simple procedure. is this person qualified? the american bar association, multiple entities, huge bipartisan support around the country. no question he's qualified. no question he's been a great jurist. no question he's been an excellent writer. now it's a question of will the senate follow through on the procedures that we have followed through for two centuries? give judges an up or down vote? and for the majority and the minority to both respect the process of what it means to be a part of article 3 leaders in the justice department. this is the way that this works in the days ahead. this is the way it's worked in the days past. we need to be able to resolve it now. i look forward to voting up or down and getting that vote for judge gorsuch. i look forward to him joining the court to being that ninth justice and to the court being able to get back to their business as they have always been. there are a few issues that are

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