It’s official. The Senate has confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. He will be an excellent justice for the American people.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution entrusts members of the Senate with a responsibility vital to our democracy: providing advice and consent on the president’s Supreme Court nominees. The significance of this task cannot be overstated. I take it very seriously.
To determine if Judge Gorsuch possessed the qualities of a Supreme Court justice, I met personally with him in my office. I watched his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Judge Gorsuch answered questions from members for approximately 20 hours. I evaluated his background and legal record. Through it all, he showed us that he will be an extraordinary addition to the Court.
Judge Gorsuch has sterling credentials. He earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. He also received a doctor of philosophy from the University of Oxford. Outside of academia, he clerked for two Supreme Court justices, worked in a top law firm, and held a senior post at the Department of Justice.
A Supreme Court justice should have a certain judicial temperament. Without question, Judge Gorsuch has the right one. When introducing Judge Gorsuch at his confirmation hearing, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) stated that “[a]s a person and as a lawyer, Judge Gorsuch exemplifies some of the finest qualities of Colorado. A state filled with people who are kind to one another, who by and large do not share the conceit that one party or one ideology is all right and the other is all wrong.”
Nebraskans can relate to this description of our neighbors in Colorado. We are kind. We value independence, honesty, and fair-mindedness. Judge Gorsuch does too.
During his four-day confirmation hearing, Gorsuch repeatedly proved his commitment to the rule of law. Several of my Democrat colleagues agree, and cited it as why they supported his nomination. For example, Senator Heitkamp indicated that she would vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch because “[h]e has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law.”
Furthermore, while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Judge Gorsuch demonstrated he is well within the mainstream. In total, he has decided 2,700 cases. Ninety-nine percent of the time he sided with the majority. He’s authored opinions in 800 of those cases. Ninety-eight percent of the decisions in these cases were unanimous. That’s a solid record and it has earned him respect from jurists and scholars across the political spectrum.
Finally, Judge Gorsuch has promised to apply the law equally and fairly to all people. As he said during his confirmation hearing: “everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.” This is a fundamental part of his judicial oath. It’s a commitment one must make when their decisions are going to affect the rights and freedoms of millions.
I was proud to support Judge Gorsuch and I think he will do an exceptional job for the American people. I congratulate him on his confirmation and wish him well as he takes his place on the bench of our nation’s highest court.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.