Neil Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch is a judge on the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was nominated to the Supreme Court on January 31, 2017, and confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017.

(Last updated April 7, 2017.)

Table of Contents

Confirmation Process & Status

Confirmation Process:

Nominees to the Supreme Court go through a 4-step confirmation process:

  1. The nominee is selected by the President and submitted to the Senate for approval.
  2. The Senate Judiciary Committee researches the nominee and holds a hearing (or series of hearings) to assess the nominee's qualifications.
  3. The Senate Judiciary Committee then votes on the nomination.
  4. If the Judiciary Committee votes to recommend the nominee favorably, the full Senate then votes on the nomination. A simply majority of votes is required for the nominee to be confirmed.

When a Supreme Court nomination reaches the full Senate floor, cloture may be invoked in order to limit debate (normally, debate may continue indefinitely in the Senate). For Supreme Court nominations, a three-fifths majority (60 votes) are required to invoke cloture. However, the Senate can vote to change the rules such that only a simple majority (51 votes) is required to invoke cloture—and this rule change only requires a simple majority to pass. This is the so-called "nuclear option."

Current Status (April 7, 2017):

The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on April 7, 2017, on a vote of 54-45. Three Democrats joined all Senate Republicans in voting to confirm:

These three Democrats also voted on April 6, 2017, along with all Senate Republicans, to end debate on the nomination.

Issues

During his confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch offered little in the way of specifics indicating his judicial philosophy or how he might rule on any particular subjects. However, his history as a judge indicates a number of concerning issues:

  • In a 2005 op-ed for The National Review, Gorsuch referred to gay marriage as part of the liberal social agenda, saying, "American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom ... as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide ..."
  • In the Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius case before the 10th Circuit Court, Gorsuch sided with religious employers who wished to limit their employees' access to birth control.
  • In the TransAm Trucking v. Admin. Review Bd. case, Gorsuch argued in his dissent that the trucking company should be able to fire an employee who abandoned his cargo in order to seek safety in dangerously freezing weather.
  • In the Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch case, Gorsuch wrote in both the majority decision and his separate concurrence an argument against a legal principle known as Chevron deference, the elimination of which would sharply limit the ability of federal agencies to implement regulations.

Call Script

If calling a Senator who voted against Gorsuch's confirmation:

"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to thank Senator _____ for voting against Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. More than that, I am glad that the Senator also voted against cloture and against the 'nuclear option.' I strongly believe that full responsibility for that damaging rule change rests with the GOP, and I applaud Senator _____ for standing strong in the face of their hypocrisy. Thank you."

Find your Senators' contact information at contactingcongress.org.

 

If calling a Senator who voted for Gorsuch's confirmation:

"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to express my disappointment that Senator _____ voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Voting for Judge Gorsuch was a vote against women's rights, workers' rights, LGBTQ rights, minority rights, and the environment, and with a lifetime appointment, his decisions will impact our nation for decades to come. I am extremely disappointed to know that I cannot count on my Senator to put the interests of everyday Americans ahead of corporations and the wealthy."

Find your Senators' contact information at contactingcongress.org.

 
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