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
“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
“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
“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.