March 24, 2017

Whitehouse Announces Opposition to Gorsuch

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement explaining his opposition to the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch:

“In his opening statement to the Committee, Judge Gorsuch said a bad judge is the one who ‘stretch[es] for the policy results he prefers rather than those the law compels.’  I agree, and I would like to give Judge Gorsuch the benefit of the doubt that he can avoid that kind of stretching should he be confirmed.  He is an intelligent, experienced lawyer and judge.  His record is impressive.

“But I needed to hear more than what I heard this week.  The question he needed to answer was what happens when Republicans gain a five-seat majority on the Supreme Court?  Whenever the last five-justice majority of Republican appointees could change the law five to four to benefit Republicans at the polls or big corporations anywhere, the result was the same: victory for Republicans and corporations.  Every time.

“The Court decided five to four to gerrymander districts for the GOP’s benefit, to let states suppress Democratic-leaning minorities’ votes, and to flood our elections with Republican-friendly corporate spending.  Six rulings, six wins for Republicans.

“For corporations, it has been even more of a rout.  Five to four, businesses gained the upper hand against unions, and corporations’ religious rights won over women’s rights.  Five to four, gun manufacturers, investment banks, and big polluters got their favored result, while individual citizens lost important protection.  In one five to four decision after another, companies chipped away at consumers’ Seventh Amendment right to the civil jury.  And, of course, the same five to four decisions that benefitted Republican candidates with corporate spending benefitted corporations peddling influence.  Sixteen rulings, sixteen wins for corporations.

“Judge Gorsuch had the chance to convince me he would not pick up where Justice Scalia and his troop left off.  I have no quarrel with a true judicial conservative, bound by precepts like textualism or originalism.  He could have shown me he is both independent and conservative and won my support. 

“Instead, he seemed not to understand the pernicious effect of unlimited, secret political spending— the ‘dark money’ that has warped our politics following the five to four decision in Citizens United.   Dark money is every American’s problem and one that the Court caused, and can remedy. 

“Judge Gorsuch needed to convince me he would not join the posse that has relentlessly stretched the law to benefit Republican partisans and corporations at the expense of everyone else.  He did not.  He will not get my vote.”

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