Hatch, Cornyn, Durbin, Grassley

Executive Session (Gorsuch Nomination)

Senator Hatch: (10:31 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Heather Wilson to be Secretary of the Air Force.
    • "I've had the privilege of knowing Dr. Wilson since her election to Congress where is he distinguished herself as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. In my interactions with Dr. Wilson on the intelligence committee, it quickly became apparent that she is a person of great intellect and exceptional character but this should come as no surprise since she's always achieved a level of excellence in each of her endeavors. She knew success if an early age. She made history as one of the first female graduates of the Air Force Academy. At the academy she thrived as a student eventually earning a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford where she earned a Ph.D. in international relations. Dr. Wilson then wrote a well-received book titled "International Law and the Use of Force by the National Liberation Movement." As a lawyer I was particularly impressed by Dr. Wilson's in-depth analysis of international law. What is all the more impressive, the book was published as she was serving as director of defense policy and arms control for the National Security Council. Dr. Wilson's commitment to national security was evident when she served in the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2009. When she left the House after more than a decade of service. Congress' loss was South Dakota's gain. In 2013 she became the president of the South Dakota School of Mines and technology. She showed extraordinary skill leading a large institution. Madam President, in sum, Dr. Heather Wilson is a person of great intellect, strong management skills, and superlative character."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
    • "It's amazing to me how some of my colleagues on the other side have ignored all of the facts, all of the evidence, all of the experience, all of the goodness of this man. And I hope we'll not vote against us but looks to me many are going to vote against him. If you vote against Neil Gorsuch, who can you support? Are you just going to support people who do your bidding? Are you going to support people who really can do the nation's bidding? And dot things that this country needs? Neil Gorsuch is that type of a person. He has that kind of ability. He has that kind of experience. He's a terrific human being. And whether you agree or disagree with him, you walk away saying, well, he certainly makes a lot of good points. And you walk away saying I like that guy. He's somebody I can work with. He's somebody that really loves his country. He's somebody who sets an exemplary example in every way. I have to say that I've seen my years of service here, I've seen a number of Supreme Court nominations. I've seen a number of people put on the court. And they've all been exceptional people, but there's none of them that exceed Neil Gorsuch. He is that good."


Senator Cornyn: (11:07 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the U.S missile strikes in Syria.
    • "Again we see Bashar al-Assad crossing a line, a line drawn and then ignored by the Obama Administration. The United States and the world community simply can't stand idly while Syria continues crimes against humanity. Again, under Russian protection. That's why last night the administration responded quickly and proportionately, and I commend the president and his national security team for acting decisively and sending a clear message to Assad and our allies. And I'm sure in a message that wasn't missed by the leaders of the Iranian government, the Russian Federation, and North Korea. I agree with Ambassador Haley that Russia's obstructionism at the U.N has enabled Assad and prevented international action, resulting in at least 400,000 Syrians dead in this civil war and millions other displaced as refugees not only internally but externally as well. Going forward, I stand ready to work with the president and his administration on a unified strategy to defeat Assad's barbarism and to work toward greater stability in Syria and throughout the region."
  • Spoke on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
    • "Over the last few weeks our colleagues and I have, and the entire country as a matter of fact, have gotten to know Judge Neil Gorsuch not only as a judge but as a man. He is a good man of superb qualifications and incredible integrity. A Colorado native, Judge Gorsuch has served on the Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals for about ten years. He's known for his sharp intellect, his brilliant writing and his faithful interpretation of the Constitution and laws passed by Congress. He is, in short, a distinguished jurist with an impeccable legal and academic record. In addition to his decade on the bench, his professional experience includes years practicing in a private law firm, prestigious clerkships including the Supreme Court under two separate justices and service in the Department of Justice. It is simply undeniable that Judge Gorsuch is a qualified high-caliber nominee and I have no 
      doubt that he will serve our nation well on the Supreme Court."


Senator Durbin: (11:17 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
    • "Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February of last year. President Barack Obama, president of the United States of America, had a constitutional responsibility under article 2, section 2, to nominate a person to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court as every other president had and he did. He came up with the name Merrick Garland, the chief judge on the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals, a man who was widely respected. Judged unanimously well qualified by the American Bar Association and President Obama submitted his name to this Congress, to the Senate, a Senate which is with a Republican majority and a leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Senator McConnell and the Republican senators did something that had never happened in the history of this chamber, not once. They denied to President Obama's nominee the opportunity for a hearing and a vote. In fact, Senator McConnell went further and said I won't even meet with the man. It had never happened before. And you say to yourself, well, come on, this isn't bean bag. You're in Washington. This is major league politics. This sort of thing must happen all the time. Never. In fact, if you go back not that far in history to 1988 and the last year of President Ronald Reagan's presidency, his fourth year, some call it the lame duck year, there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Republican President Ronald Reagan sent the name Anthony Kennedy to a democratically controlled Senate which had the power to do the same thing Senator McConnell did, deny a hearing, deny a vote. Well, what did the Democrats do? They gave to Justice Kennedy a hearing, a vote, and sent him to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court."


Senator Grassley: (11:24 a.m.)

  • Spoke on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
    • "I opened our Judiciary Committee hearing with this. As Justice Scalia said, it is, quote, the proud boast of our democracy that we have a government of law and not man. Without a secure structure of separated powers, our bill of rights would be worthless. End of Scalia's quote. The separation of powers in our Constitution is the guardian of our liberty. Judge Gorsuch understands that. His deep understanding of the separation of powers enlivens his opinions. By faithfully enforcing the boundaries among the branches of government and the power of the federal government in our lives, this justice will ensure that the law protects our liberties. And here's the other thing that's important about a judge who respects the separation of powers. We know that he'll be independent. He told us that he is his own man, that no person speaks for him. He's not beholden to the president who appointed him. And his testimony shows that he's not beholding to us in the congress either. He wouldn't compromise his Independence to win confirmation votes. He passed the test. This is a man of integrity, and his qualifications for the bench are exceptional."