Five Best Responses Neil Gorsuch Had to Democratic Senators

Neil Gorsuch / Getty Images
March 23, 2017

The committee hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court has reached day four on Thursday, and so far Democrats have not been able to lay a single glove on him. Despite receiving nearly universal praise from Democratic senators to MSNBC anchors, Democrats still plan on filibustering his nomination.

Throughout the four days of hearings, Democratic senators have attempted to paint Gorsuch as unfair, extreme, and sexist. Here are five of Gorsuch's best responses to Democratic senators.

1. Are women allowed to be president?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) asked whether Gorsuch's originalist interpretation of the Constitution allows for women to become president of the United States.

"Of course women can be president of the United States," Gorsuch said. "I'm the father of two daughters, and I hope one of them turns out to be president."

2. Refused to get involved in Washington's political blame game 

Some Democratic senators are still upset that Republicans refused to hold hearings and vote on former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) tried to get Gorsuch to comment on Republicans' treatment of Garland.

But Gorsuch refused to answer. He stated that judges have to refrain from being political, and there is a reason why they don't clap at the State of the Union. Sen. Franken continued to push for an answer, but all he got out of Gorsuch was that Garland was a great judge.

"I think the world of Merrick Garland. I think he's an outstanding judge," Gorsuch said.

3. What a judge's real job is

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) was questioning Gorsuch's view on the Supreme Court's ruling on the D.C. vs. Heller case. Sen. Feinstein attempted to paint Gorsuch as an extremist when it comes to the Second Amendment, asking if Gorsuch agreed that weapons used in military service could be banned without infringing on Second Amendment rights.

Gorsuch didn't take the bait. He said it didn't matter whether he agreed or not, it's his job to apply and enforce the law.

Feinstein: In D.C. v. Heller, the majority opinion written by justice Scalia recognized that, and I'm quoting, of course, 'the Second Amendment was not unlimited.'

Justice Scalia wrote, for example, laws restricting access to guns by the mentally ill or laws forbidding gun possession in schools were consistent with the limited nature of the Second Amendment. Justice Scalia also wrote that, quote, 'weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned without infringing on the Second Amendment.' Do you agree with that statement that under the Second Amendment weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned?

Gorsuch: Senator, Heller makes clear the standard that we judges are supposed to apply. The question is whether it is a gun in common use for self-defense, and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That's the test as I understand it. There is lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards, and I can't prejudge that litigation.

Feinstein: I'm just asking you do you agree with the statement. Yes or no? […]

Gorsuch: Whatever is in Heller is the law. And I follow the law.

Feinstein: Do you agree?

Gorsuch: It is not a matter of disagreeing or disagreeing, Senator, respectfully. It is a matter of it being the law. And my job is to apply and enforce the law.

4. He will be a fair judge.

Gorsuch corrected a senator when she implied that he wouldn't be a fair judge to workers.

"So, I'm just looking for something that would indicate that you would give a worker a fair shot," Sen. Feinstein said. "Maybe it's in your background somewhere that I don’t know about. But, I'd like to have you respond to it any way you can."

Gorsuch responded that he has participated in over 2,700 opinions where he ruled in favor of the "little guy."

"I’ve written two thousand—I’ve participated in 2,700 opinions over ten and a half years," he said. "And if you want cases where I’ve ruled for ‘the little guy,' as well as ‘the big guy,' there are plenty of them, Senator. "

Feinstein asked if he could submit those cases to her. He didn't have to submit because he could name them off the top of his head.

"Oh, I’ll name a bunch them right now," he said.

Gorsuch promised Feinstein that he would be a fair judge.

"And Senator, the bottom line, I think. is that I’d like to convey to you from the bottom of my heart is that I’m a fair judge," he said. "And Senator, I can’t guarantee you more than that—but I can promise you absolutely nothing less."

5. "And I'm telling you I don't."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) got a forceful response from Gorsuch when he implied that Gorsuch held views are discriminatory against women.

Durbin asked if Gorsuch if the cost of the employer for maternity leave could justify employers asking only female applicants about family planning.

Gorsuch was quick to say that those weren't his words.

Durbin said he didn't ask if they were his words but whether he agreed with the statement.

Gorsuch gave a forceful response, "And I'm telling you I don't."

As one CNN legal analyst said about Gorsuch, "He knows so much more about everything he's being asked than the senators."