U.S. SENATE —Just days before the U.S. Senate is set to confirm Judge Neil Gorusch to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Senator Steve Daines today took to the Senate floor in support of Gorsuch’s nomination.
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Daines’ remarks as prepared are available below:
“Today, I’m joining my colleagues on the floor with a bit of confusion, a bit of disappointment and a lot of questions. I’m referring to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice. As a U.S. Senator, one of the most consequential votes that I will cast is a vote to confirm a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. It is a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.
“As it stands today – the U.S. Senate is on the precipice of confirming Neil Gorsuch to be our next U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice. However, as the news is reporting and Twitter feeds overflowing with information, it looks as though my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are caving to the pressures of the far left and are set to unleash an unprecedented filibuster.
“I have met with Judge Gorsuch, I have watched his confirmation hearings and from what I have seen and what most Americans agree, is that Judge Neil Gorsuch has been incredibly transparent, accessible and is the right man for the position:
“He is mainstream, Westerner, committed to judicial independence, a brilliant legal mind, and exceptionally qualified.
“In fact, the American Bar Association unanimously rated Judge Gorsuch as “well qualified,” that’s its highest rating.
“He met with nearly 80 Senators.
“Prior to his hearing he provided the Judiciary Committee over 70 pages of written answers about his personal record and over 75,000 pages of documents including speeches, case briefs, opinions, and written works going back as far as college.
“The White House Archives produced over 180,000 pages of email and paper records related to Judge Gorsuch’s time at the Department of Justice.
“Judge Gorsuch sat for three rounds of questioning totaling nearly 20 hours in Committee.
“And as the American people watched Judge Gorsuch before that Committee, they saw an exceptionally qualified nominee for the highest court in the land. Someone who is bright, who is kind, I would argue that Judge Gorsuch mind his intellectual capacities are only exceeded by the size of his heart. This is a kind and independent jurist.
“This was the longest hearing when he came before the Judiciary Committee of any 21st century nominee – he answered nearly 1,200 questions during his hearing – which is nearly twice as many questions as Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, or Ginsburg.
“He was given 299 questions for the record by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee – the most in recent history of Supreme Court nominee.
“Judge Gorsuch did all of this with the utmost integrity, transparency and humility.
“Yet, here we are with Democrats engaged in unprecedented obstruction, refusing to give Neil Gorsuch an up or down vote.
“The Senate has only ever employed a cloture motion for a Supreme Court nominee four times in modern history. We voted on cloture when Justice Alito was nominated in 2006, and did the same in 1968, 1971 and 1986.
“In 1991, Clarence Thomas was confirmed on a 52-48 vote, and in 2006 Samuel Alito was confirmed on a 58-42 vote.
“In fact, when President Obama was in the White House, Republicans did not filibuster a nominee – in fact this body confirmed Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 by a vote of 68-31, and confirmed Elena Kagan by a roll call vote of 63-37 in 2010. We did not filibuster.
“Let me remind folks – cloture is in place to stop debate not to stop a vote. It was intended to speed up the process not be used as a stall tactic. This bears repeating: Cloture was put in place to speed up the process— to prevent obstruction.
“This chamber has never had a partisan filibuster to a Supreme Court nominee.
“So here we are today – with no other option but to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” to put an eminently qualified individual on the Supreme Court.
“Judge Gorsuch is the definition of a mainstream judge – in the more than 2,700 cases he has participated in on the 10th Circuit – 97 percent of them have been decided unanimously – being in the majority 99 percent of the time.
“Yet, Senate Democrats would rather play politics, and place the demands of extreme liberal special interests rather than ensure regular order.
“But let’s talk about what we are and aren’t doing.
“In the Senate, a chamber I am honored serve and represent over one million Montanans…we operate on a set of parliamentary criterion based on things which happened before.
“Therefore, we are going to establish a new precedent.
“Changing the rules;
“This isn’t happening for the first time – let us remember that in November 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid established a new precedent of how many votes are necessary on executive branch nominees except Supreme Court picks.
“What’s even more shocking to me is that over the past weeks through hearings, debate and discussions about Judge Gorsuch on the floor and with support from across our state. Let me just name some of those organizations and people in support of Judge Gorsuch name just a few:
- The Montana Chamber
- Four Montana tribes – CSKT, the Crow Tribe, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck
- Montana Farm Bureau
- Judge Russell Fagg, Thirteenth Judicial District
- Judge Jeffrey Langton, Twenty-First Judicial District
- Judge John Larson, Fourth Judicial District
- State Senator Nels Swandal, retired Judge Sixth Judicial District
- Montana NRA Members
- Montana Grain Growers Association
- Montana Wool Growers Association
- Montana Stockgrowers Association
- Our Attorney General, our Auditor and our Speaker of House
“This is a very mainstream group of Montanans, leaders back home that are in support of Judge Gorsuch.
“Yet my colleagues are rejecting the will of the American people, rejecting the will of Montanans and filibustering this nomination – not allowing for even an up or down vote.
“The American people deserve a Supreme Court Justice who upholds the rule of law and follows the Constitution.
“The American people deserve a Supreme Court Justice who doesn’t legislate from the bench.
“The American people deserve Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court.”