March 28, 2017

Van Hollen to Oppose Gorsuch Nomination

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced he will oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next Supreme Court Justice:

"The responsibility to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees is one of the most important constitutional powers granted to the U.S. Senate. After carefully evaluating Neil Gorsuch's record and his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that he applies a cramped reading of the law and consistently sides with powerful special interests against the rights of individuals, workers, and consumers. When he had an opportunity during the hearings to clarify that bias, he chose instead to evade questions and answered with platitudes, not substance. While he is undoubtedly a skilled lawyer, his bias in favor of corporate power, coupled with his refusal to answer reasonable questions, lead me to conclude that he falls outside the judicial mainstream. The case that the Supreme Court decided in the middle of his hearing illustrates the point: the current Supreme Court Justices unanimously rejected his reasoning against the right of individuals with disabilities to receive an equal education. For all these reasons, I will oppose his nomination.

"After the Senate's unprecedented abdication of constitutional responsibility with respect to the Garland nomination, we must begin to restore faith in the Supreme Court. That requires a nominee who is widely viewed to be an impartial administrator of justice - someone who is truly in the mainstream and who can earn the support of at least 60 senators. I will insist that this nominee be held to that standard.

"The decisions of the nine individuals with lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court have a direct impact on who we are as Americans and the future of our democracy. We have witnessed a series of 5-to-4 decisions that shape the character of our nation. We have seen the Court run roughshod over large majorities in the Congress to gut an important provision of the Voting Rights Act. In Citizens United, we watched the Court trample over statutes and ample Supreme Court precedent to empower corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect representatives who will do their bidding. And a single vote gave individuals the right to marry the person they love.

"With so much at stake, we need a nominee who can give the country confidence that he or she will be impartial. Donald Trump, however, demanded the opposite. He established a litmus test for his nominee, insisting on someone who opposed a woman's right to reproductive choice and someone who would satisfy the National Rifle Association. He then contracted out the process to a group of right-wing organizations to compose a list of names - and he dutifully selected Gorsuch from their list. Given that process, it is not surprising that Gorsuch falls outside the judicial mainstream."