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Gorsuch Declines to Answer Franken’s Question on Merrick Garland

• March 21, 2017 5:27 pm

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Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) was visibly frustrated on Tuesday when President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch respectfully declined to answer his question about how Republicans treated Merrick Garland.

Garland, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, never received a hearing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away last February.

Gorsuch, responded to Franken's question by saying that he had a "canon of ethics" that precludes him from getting involved in politics.

"There is a reason why judges don't clap at the State of the Union, and why I can't even attend a political caucus in my home state to register a vote in the equivalent of a primary," Gorsuch said.

Franken wasn't satisfied with his response and said that his question wasn't about Gorsuch stating his political views.

"I think you're allowed to talk about what happened to the last guy that was nominated in your position," Franken said. "You're allowed to say something without getting involved in politics. You can express an opinion on this."

Gorsuch respectfully declined Franken's invitation to give his opinion.

"Senator, I appreciate the invitation, but I know the other side has their views of this, and your side has your views of it. That, by definition, is politics. And Senator, judges have to stay outside of politics," Gorsuch said.

"I think the world of Merrick Garland. I think he's an outstanding judge," Gorsuch added, before getting cut off by Franken.

"Okay, I understand. I understand. Thank you. Thank you. I don't mean to cut you off, but you know we have time," Franken said.