The U.S. Senate has begun the process to confirm Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, and our Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand told her colleagues Thursday morning that she will vote no.
Gillibrand also cautioned against Republicans changing the rules so Gorsuch would only need 51 votes, a simple majority, instead of 60.She said fundamentally, changing the rules for President Trump is a historic mistake.
She said fundamentally, changing the rules for President Trump is a historic mistake.
Here is the text of her remarks (supplied by her office):
Mr. President, one of the most important constitutional duties we as Senators have is to decide whether a Supreme Court nominee is the right person for the job.
When we make this decision, we should always consider what is best for the people of this country.
Three branches of government were created to serve the people.
So no matter what we do, whether it’s here in the Senate, whether it’s in the White House, or whether it’s across the street in the Supreme Court, the American people should always come first.
And our rights – our individual rights – should never be subordinate to the rights of corporations.
The Supreme Court is supposed to be the ultimate protector of our individual rights – the ultimate arbiter of justice for our citizens.
Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch, over the course of his career, has made it clear that he thinks the rights of corporations are more important than the rights of individuals.
For someone who describes himself as a strict constructionist – as a so-called textualist – his judicial ruling on corporate rights in the Hobby Lobby case was one of the biggest distortions of our sacred principle of individual rights that I’ve ever seen.
And now President Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, where he could end up ruling on many more cases related to individual rights.
In my state, just like in many of yours, there are thousands and thousands of families who will be directly affected by the decisions the Supreme Court makes in the next few years.
Voting rights, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, even our First Amendment speech rights, which President Trump has threatened by saying he wants to “open up our libel laws” against the press.
If any of these cases make it to the Supreme Court, they will all be decided in part by the next Supreme Court justice.
And Judge Gorsuch’s record does not give me confidence that he will be a justice whose rulings would bolster those individual rights.
On the issue of changing the rules to the filibuster: I strongly oppose changing these Senate rules for President Trump – to give him special help with Judge Gorsuch.
So I urge my colleagues to think about the potentially far-reaching and damaging consequences to our democracy if they vote to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
Fundamentally, changing the rules for President Trump is a historic mistake.
We must stand up for individual rights over corporations, and I urge my colleagues to vote against this nominee.
Thank you, Mr. President.