Dem Senator: ‘Should a 5-4 Decision With Gorsuch in the Majority Even Carry Weight in Our Society?’

• November 1, 2017 8:15 pm


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) gave a lengthy Senate floor speech on the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME, in which he questioned whether a 5-4 decision with Gorsuch in the majority would be valid.

The Janus v. AFSCME case concerns whether all workers in public sector unions should be forced to pay union dues, and Merkley assumed Gorsuch would rule against forcing workers to pay dues. Merkley began his speech by talking about the Constitution and said ruling against the public sector unions, in this case, would amount to "exploitation."

"Here is the majority of the Court prepared to fight for exploitation on behalf of the 1 percent of Americans at the very top," Merkley said.

But Merkley broke from his discussion of the case to question the legitimacy of Gorsuch's placement on the Supreme Court.

"Now, should we put an asterisk by Neil Gorsuch's name. Should even a 5-4 decision with Gorsuch in the majority even carry weight here in our society?" Merkley asked.

"Because this is the seat that for the first time in U.S. History was stolen from one president and delivered to another," Merkley said, raising his voice.

"The majority of this body right here stole the seat, undermining the integrity, dishonoring the oath, responsibility for advice and consent, and damaging the legitimacy of the Supreme Court," Merkley said.

Merkley argued Gorsuch was placed on the Court "to enable the 1 percent to rip off ordinary working Americans."

"Now we know who is behind this strategy. It's the Koch brothers through their organizations," Merkley said.

He credited unions for decades of economic growth for American workers which was upended by multinational corporations who wanted to make goods in China.

Merkley decried the effect that Justice Gorsuch would have on the case's outcome.

"So, here we are, facing this case that will come before the Court later this year where the Court has essentially already declared their positions," Merkley said.

"Four members of the court were on the previous version of this when the court tied 4-4, and Neil Gorsuch was added to the court, has been very clear on which side of this he stands," Merkley said.

Merkley said earlier in 2017 when railing against Gorsuch's nomination that "If Neil Gorsuch had principle he would turn down this nomination."