Urges confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court. Sen. Cruz urged his Democratic colleagues who were willing to confirm Judge Gorsuch ten years ago to do so again.
“Judge Gorsuch is no ordinary nominee,” Sen. Cruz said. “Because of this unique and transparent process unprecedented in our nation’s history, his nomination carries with it a kind of super-legitimatecy in that it has been ratified by the American people at the voting booth. Neil Gorsuch is not simply the President’s nominee, it is a direction chosen by the American people and I urge my colleagues to confirm him.”
Sen. Cruz’s speech may be viewed here and a rush transcript of his remarks is below:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today to support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. By any objective measure Judge Gorsuch is impeccably qualified. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School and awarded a doctorate from Oxford, he was a law clerk to Justice Byron White and Justice Kennedy and he has been a respected federal appellate judge for a decade. Judge Gorsuch has spent a lifetime in the law and his record indicates that he will make an exemplary justice.
Two weeks ago Judge Gorsuch testified for twenty hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His conduct before the hearing only further confirmed what his record demonstrates — that Neil Gorsuch is a principled jurist and a good man. I was glad for all of us to get that confirmation because Judge Gorsuch bears a heavy responsibility. He is being asked to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.
In truth, I doubt that anyone could truly fill Justice Scalia’s shoes. Justice Scalia was one of a kind and his enormous impact on the law and on the court will impact this nation for generations to come. All of us miss him dearly, but I take solace in the knowledge that one of the ways in which I believe it will be easiest for Gorsuch to imitate Scalia, perhaps the most important way, is judicial humility.
Justice Scalia’s greatest strength was not his amazing wit, his mighty pen, or his larger-than-life personality, as much as we loved those parts of him. Rather it was his consistent unwillingness to accumulate power to himself and to the courts. He refused to impose his own personal policy preferences on the law, but instead understood that his role as a judge was simply to apply the law that the elected representatives of the people had enacted.
This type of judging doesn’t take other worldly talents, though Scalia had that in abundance. Instead, it takes character, integrity, humility.
Judge Gorsuch’s lengthy record and his hearing testimony demonstrate that he has those attributes as well. He understands that his role as a judge is to apply the words of the Constitution and the laws of the United States to the specific cases that come before him and nothing more. This is critical in an era when the Supreme Court has come to be seen by many for good reason as an activist court, as a super legislature that seeks to impose its own will in the place of the written law.
It is this very humility that angers so many on the Left. They don’t want someone who humbly applies the law, rather they demand nothing less than a person fully committed to enacting from the supreme court bench whatever policies the left is championing at that given moment because they know their own refuge is the courts because the American people would reject the policies at the voting booth. Judge Gorsuch is clearly not that kind of person so they have committed to opposing his confirmation by whatever means necessary, legitimate or not.
Indeed, if this were being decided on qualifications and record, Judge Gorsuch would be confirmed unanimously and we don’t have to hypothesize about that because Judge Gorsuch has already been confirmed by this body a decade ago by a voice vote without recorded dissent.
Not a single senator objected. Not Ted Kennedy, not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not Joe Biden, and not even Democratic members who still serve in this chamber, like chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Leahy or Durbin. They did not speak out against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the court of appeals. So what changed?
The only thing that changed is that the radical Left has become angry — extremely angry — and my Democratic colleagues are worried they will get opposed from the left in their primary. That’s it. Their base demands total war, total obstruction, and they are begrudgingly bowing to this demand.
Unfortunately for them it has proven difficult to invent a tax against an obviously well-qualified judge like Judge Gorsuch. My Democratic colleagues couldn’t get any legitimate grievance to stick at the hearings last week, despite their best efforts, but it hasn’t stopped them from repeating their outlandish attacks over and over again. If the stakes weren’t so high, it might even be humorous.
But it isn’t really funny because the primary argument that the Democrats have made is dangerous. Their attack on Neil Gorsuch is a direct attack on the rule of law itself. Contrary to the foundations of our government and legal system, my colleagues from across the aisle are arguing that Judge Gorsuch is unqualified to be a justice because he allegedly failed to side with the, quote, little guy over the big guy. In their view, it is now the job of judges to reject equal protection, to take the blindfold off of Lady Justice and instead judges should put their thumbs on the scale to actively discriminate against parties based on their identity.
This notion of partisan results-oriented judging is directly contrary to the Constitutional system we have in this country. My Democratic colleagues are openly calling for judges to enforce their own political preferences from the bench and they want to use a person’s willingness or unwillingness to do so as a litmus test for who gets on the Court.
This isn’t even a jurisprudential position, it’s a political position. It’s difficult to imagine a more effective way to destroy our judicial system, the best in the world, despite its flaws, than to adopt this result-oriented approach.
Make no mistakes, the Democrats trumpeting of outcome-based judging will have consequences. Judges and potential judges nationwide will now have heard their siren call, if you want smooth sailing in a confirmation hearing, ignore the laws and the facts and pick a side that is politically correct at that moment name.
My Democratic colleagues claim to detest attacks on the independent judiciary, but there aren’t many more attacks than true Independence and impartiality than the one they are making now. The public, the people that appear in court seeking an honest tribunal have also heard this open call for bias, for prejudice, for discrimination. And I doubt they’ll soon forget it.
Luckily Judge Gorsuch stood firm at his confirmation hearing. He reaffirmed what was clear from his record, that he will not legislate his own policy preferences from the bench and that he will respect the limited role a judge plays in our Constitutional structure.
He did all of this in the face of unrelenting opposition from my Democratic colleagues who demanded that he violate his judicial oath and swear to decide certain cases and political questions in a way that they would prefer. No recent nominee to the Supreme Court has ever made such pledges and Judge Gorsuch rightfully refused to do so last week.
Their demands of Judge Gorsuch were particularly galling given that this was the most transparent process in history for selecting a Supreme Court justice.
During the campaign, Donald Trump promised the American people that, if elected, he would choose a justice in the mold of Justice Scalia. He laid — Scalia. The voters were able to see precisely who President Trump would nominate. They were able to decide for themselves if that was the future they wanted for the Supreme Court.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, promised a very different kind of justice. She promised a liberal judicial activist who would vote to undermine free speech, to undermine religious liberty, to undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
In a very real sense, this election was a referendum on the Supreme Court. The American people could decide for themselves between a faithful originalist vision of the Constitution and a progressive liberal activist vision.
And the voters chose. Donald Trump is now President Trump, and he has kept his promise to the American people by selecting Neil Gorsuch from that list of 21 judges. Judge Gorsuch is no ordinary nominee because of this unique and transparent process unprecedented in our nation’s history, his nomination carries with it a kind of super-legitimatecy in that it has been ratified by the American people at the voting booth.
Neil Gorsuch is not simply the President’s nominee, it is a direction chosen by the American people and I urge my colleagues to confirm him. I yield the floor.