Grassley on the Gorsuch Debate: How We Got Here According to the New York Times, “42 of the Senate’s 50 Democrats attended a private retreat . . . where a principal topic was forging a unified party strategy to combat the White House on Judicial...
BigNews.Biz - Apr 07,2017 - Grassley on the Gorsuch Debate: How We Got Here
Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
On the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Serve
as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
“How We Got Here”
We’re continuing to debate the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
My colleagues on both sides of the aisle have said that this is an important moment for the Senate. I couldn’t agree more.
I think it’s important to reflect on why we’re here and how we got here.
Before I turn to the Supreme Court and the current debate, let me take a couple minutes to talk about lower court nominees, and provide a little bit of history and context, especially for the benefit of some of the Senators who weren’t here.
Let me start by going back to the spring of 2001. President George W. Bush had just been elected President.
As we all know, it was a close election, and it was hard fought.
The Senate was closely divided, with the Republicans in control.
Given how close the Presidential election was, there were elements of the hard left who refused to accept the results of the election.
Some blamed Ralph Nader.
Others blamed Governor Jeb Bush.
And others blamed the Supreme Court.
Many on the hard left claimed that President George W. Bush wasn’t a “legitimate” President. Liberal interest groups were egging on the Democratic Leadership to fight the new President at every turn.
At the time, one major concern for the hard left liberal interest groups was that President Bush, whom they claimed wasn’t legitimate, would be able to nominate conservative judges.
Again, sound familiar?
Senator Cornyn went over some of this yesterday, but it deserves more discussion.
So, in the spring of 2001, the hard-left interest groups went to the Senate Democrat Leadership with a plan.
According to the New York Times, “42 of the Senate’s 50 Democrats attended a private retreat . . . where a principal topic was forging a unified party strategy to combat the White House on Judicial nominees.”
Cass Sunstein, Marcia Greenberger, and Lawrence Tribe spoke at the retreat and pitched to the Democrats their idea.
According to one attendee: “They said it was important for the Senate to change the ground rules and there was no obligation to confirm someone just because they are scholarly or erudite.”
Well, let’s think about that for a minute. Why do you suppose they believed they needed to “change the ground rules” for confirming judges?
It’s because up to that point, you didn’t filibuster judges. You just didn’t.
Well, as it happened, less than a month after that caucus retreat, Senator Jeffords from Vermont switched parties and began caucusing with the Democrats.
That threw the majority to the Democrats for a short time.
But then they lost the election of