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Crapo Notes History Does Not Support Filibuster of Supreme Court Nominations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking today before a vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo noted that history does not support the filibuster of Supreme Court nominations.  Deviating from that history, Crapo noted, would be a departure from longstanding Senate practice.  

On filibustering the nomination, Crapo noted, “Voting no is different from filibustering.  The argument is being made that all Supreme Court justices  are submitted to a 60-vote rule not a 50-plus-one rule.  That is simply not true.  The opponents can attempt to indefinitely delay his confirmation but they cannot defend this as regular or established practice.  None of the current sitting justices were subjected to a filibuster.  None.  Two were even confirmed with fewer than 60 votes.  But neither were subjected to that procedural roadblock.  When President Obama nominated Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, Republicans did not subject them to a filibuster.  They received a straight up-or-down vote.   The same was true when President Clinton selected Justices Ginsburg and Breyer.  Republicans did not seek or demand a filibuster.  Even Judge Bork did not receive a filibuster.  All senators had an opportunity to vote on his nomination.  And although throughout history there have been a few, and I mean a few examples of where filibusters were tried, a partisan filibuster has never succeeded in the Senate.” [Video time 9:20

Gorsuch Closing Statement 040317

Click the image above to view Crapo’s full comments before the Senate Judiciary Committee 

Additionally, in his comments, Crapo recalled his question and answers during the hearing with Judge Gorsuch, where the Judge reiterated his commitment to weighing the issues that come before the Court carefully, without bias or prejudgment.  Crapo commented, “What the people saw is a thoughtful, humble, and brilliant legal mind in the service of the public.  In response to a question of mine on Tuesday, Judge Gorsuch said the following: ‘I come here with no agenda, but one.  No promises, but one.  To be as good and as faithful of a judge as I know how to be.  That is it and I cannot agree, or promise, or pledge to be anything more than that to this Congress.  That statement, and the hearing as a whole confirmed Judge Gorsuch to be a man of great integrity, of the mainstream, an exemplary student of the law whose record shows that he is part of the unanimous decisions 97 percent of the time, and 99 percent of the time in the majority.” [Video time 1:30] 

Crapo spoke highly of Judge Gorsuch’s fairness and commitment to ensuring equal justice to those who enter his court.  “In Judge Gorsuch, we have a jurist who lives the American ideals of a modest jurist.  He understands that his responsibility is not suborn the will of others but to help deliver justice.  Those who have encountered him as a legal advocate, as an adversary in court or a presiding judge all praise his fundamental fairness  and suborning of his personal views.  His respect for the Constitution is not in question.  His experience, his wisdom and his judgement are not in question.  His capability to serve is not in question.  Commentators from both the left and right overwhelming respect his legal mind and vouch for his commitment to fair jurisprudence.” [Video 13:19] 

Finally, Crapo also highlighted the rating given to Judge Gorsuch by the American Bar Association (ABA) as further validation of the Judge’s skill and experience saying, “The American Bar Association prides itself on being a neutral arbiter of the standards of the legal profession in this country, and as we have all heard today the ABA has bestowed upon Judge Gorsuch its highest possible evaluation.” [Video 0:18] 

Video of Senator Crapo’s full statement can be found online here or by clicking on the image above.  The nomination of Judge Gorsuch was reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 11-9 and sent to the full Senate for consideration.  The Senate’s floor debate on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court is expected to conclude by the end of this week. 

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