U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s behalf on the Senate floor as they his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Shortly after his speech the Senate Democrats successfully filibustered his nomination on a 55 to 45 vote, only four Democrats voted for cloture. Republicans are expected, and have the votes, to invoke the nuclear option to bypass Senate rules and confirm Gorsuch to the bench.
Here’s the video of Grassley’s remarks:
The transcript is below:
Within the next hour or so, we’ll learn whether the Minority will come to their senses, or whether they’ll engage in the very first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in United States history.
All indications are that they’ve committed to their course.
That’s unfortunate. It truly is.
The question you have to ask is this.
What, exactly, is so objectionable about this nominee that he should be subjected to the first partisan filibuster in U.S. history?
Is he not well qualified?
Columbia for college, Harvard for Law School, and Oxford for his doctorate degree.
He clerked for not one, but two Supreme Court Justices.
Over ten years on the Circuit court. 2,700 cases.
It’s clear he’s extremely well qualified.
So what is it?
What makes this nominee so objectionable?
The truth of the matter is that throughout this process, the minority, led by their Leader, has been desperately searching for a justification for their pre-planned filibuster.
Over the course of the last couple of months, they’ve trotted out one excuse after another.
But nothing will stick.
They said he isn’t mainstream.
But that’s not true. Everyone from Obama’s Solicitor General to Rachel Maddow knows he’s mainstream.
They said he isn’t independent.
But, everyone knows he’s an independent judge.
He’s his own man. And he understands the role of a judge.
Then they rolled out this ridiculous argument that he’s for the ‘big guy’ and against the ‘little guy.’
Even liberal law professors like Noah Feldman made fun of that attack. He called it “a truly terrible idea.”
Then they said we should hold him responsible for the legal positions he took on behalf of the United States government.
The only problem there is that we’ve had a lot of nominees who’ve represented the United States as a client.
The other side certainly didn’t want to hold Justice Kagan responsible for taking the truly extreme position as Solicitor General that the United States government was constitutionally permitted to ban pamphlets.
So that argument fell flat, too.
Then of course, after they ran out of substantive arguments against the judge and his record, they resorted to attacks on his supporters, or the President who nominated him, or the selection process.
Anything to distract from the Judge and his stellar record.
They trotted out this absurd claim that we should reject the Judge, not because of some opinion he’s written, but because those who support his nomination have the gall to actually speak out and make their voices heard.
Except they forgot to check with their OWN supporters first to make sure none of THEM are spending so-called “dark money.”
Of course they are spending money on issue advocacy, just as the law provides, and the Constitution protects.
And as we all know, issue advocacy during Supreme Court nominations is nothing new.
Those who are complaining about issue advocacy today don’t seem to remember the TV ads the far left groups ran attacking Judge Bork in 1987.
I remember those ads. I remember the ads the left ran against Justice Thomas, too.
And of course, outside groups on the left have attacked every Republican nominee since.
So, expressing selective outrage over issue advocacy doesn’t advance their cause, either.
And finally, the talking point we’ve heard repeated most often over the last 24 hours is that candidate Trump “outsourced” his selection process to conservative groups.
I must say, I find that one to be the oddest argument to date.
It’s the kind of thing Justice Scalia would’ve called “pure applesauce.”
The President didn’t ‘outsource’ the selection process to conservative groups.
He made his list public for the entire country to review during the campaign.
If anything, he outsourced the selection process to the American People.
So, what do you do?
You’re out of substantive arguments.
Even shots fired at the Judge’s supporters somehow boomerang back and hit your own advocacy groups.
But we’ve seen all of this before.
I’ve been through a few of these debates over the years.
When a Republican occupies the Oval Office, the nominees may change, but the attacks remain the same.
You’ll hear today the same poll-tested catch phrases we’ve all heard time and again.
You’ll hear words and phrases like “outside the mainstream,” “far-right”, and “extreme.”
Invariably, these are the words the left tries to pin on every nominee a Republican president submits to the Senate.
With each nominee, the playbook on the left is the same.
The nomination process, it seems, is a desperate attempt to re-tell the same old pre-ordained narrative.
So as I’ve said, those of us who’ve been through a few of these episodes have heard it all before.
But this time something is different.
This time, they intend to use the same old pre-ordained narrative to justify the first partisan filibuster in Senate history.
And of course, this result was pre-ordained.
Because as the Minority Leader said weeks before the President was even sworn in to office, “It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we [Democrats] could support.”
You’ve already committed to the far left that you’ll launch the first partisan filibuster in United States history.
So, you’re stuck.
You’ve got to press forward, even though you know the effort is doomed to fail.
You know he’ll be confirmed, and you know in your heart of hearts, that he deserves to be confirmed.
And that’s why this is an especially sad state of affairs.
At the end of the day, we’re left with an exceptional nominee, with impeccable credentials, and broad bipartisan support.
In short, we have in Judge Gorsuch a nominee who proves without a doubt, the Minority Leader would lead a filibuster against anyone nominated by this President.
And that’s unfortunate, because it’s not the way it has to be.
But it’s a situation we can’t abide.