The Latest: Law professor: Gorsuch won't be 'robotic vote'

AP News
Posted: Mar 23, 2017 3:01 PM
The Latest: Law professor: Gorsuch won't be 'robotic vote'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on nomination hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

A law professor says Judge Neil Gorsuch may be conservative, but he's predicting that President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court won't be "a robotic vote for the right of the court."

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University, is telling senators at a confirmation hearing Thursday that presidents have tended to avoid nominating candidates who might attract opposition. He says nominees often have little record of questioning conventional theories or even of raising interesting ideas.

He says Gorsuch has debated and opined on some of the toughest questions in recent history. He is asking senators not to punish Gorsuch for doing so.

Turley says Gorsuch has shown an intellectual curiosity and honesty that "I think is going to take him across the ideological spectrum."


2:00 p.m.

The White House says it's "truly disappointing" that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has announced that he intends to oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Spokesman Sean Spicer says the announcement breaks with the tradition of how the Senate has handled Supreme Court confirmation votes in modern times.

He says it also represents the type of partisanship the public is tired of.

Spicer says Senate Republicans did not filibuster, or try to block, a confirmation vote on Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, the two justices that former President Barack Obama nominated to the nation's highest court.

Spicer says the American people voted for a "fair up or down vote" on Gorsuch. He's calling on Schumer to abandon his plans.


12:50 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says he will vote no on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Sanders says Gorsuch has refused to answer legitimate questions and "brought the confirmation process to a new low in a thick fog of evasion."

Sanders' decision is not a surprise and his announcement comes after Gorsuch spent two days answering questions from a Senate panel examining his qualifications. Republicans say Gorsuch showed great humility during his testimony.

But Sanders says in a press release that Americans deserve a justice who respects the rights of workers to be treated fairly instead of bowing to big business.

He also says voting for Gorsuch risks a court that would put in jeopardy privacy rights and a woman's right to control her body.


11:55 a.m.

A Colorado man, Jeff Perkins, is encouraging senators not to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court. Perkins says Gorsuch minimized the education schools must provide disabled children.

Perkins says his son Luke suffers from autism, requiring the family to send the youth to a specialized school in Boston. His family sought to gain reimbursement for his education costs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Perkins says Gorsuch's ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned a district judge's opinion in the family's favor.

Republican. Sen. Thom Tillis says any minimizing of the requirement of the law was caused by Congress, not the courts.


10:14 a.m.

A committee evaluating Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court contacted almost 5,000 people nationwide who might have knowledge of his qualifications before unanimously giving him a well-qualified rating.

The American Bar Association's Nancy Scott Degan says the committee evaluating Supreme Court nominees doesn't give a well-qualified rating lightly. She says it's based on integrity, professional competence and temperament.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding its third and likely final hearing Thursday on President Donald Trump's nominee to serve on the Supreme Court.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is also noting that President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, Judge Merrick Garland, received the ABA's well-qualified rating, but didn't get a hearing. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says he agrees Garland is a wonderful person and well qualified.


10:06 a.m.

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey says he'll vote against Donald Trump's choice of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court.

Casey said Gorsuch possesses a "rigid and restrictive judicial philosophy" and writes opinions to satisfy his conservative beliefs rather than "grapple with the complex circumstances faced by ordinary Americans."

Democrats remain livid that Republicans last year killed former President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, without a hearing.

Democrats Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ed Markey of Massachusetts have declared their opposition.

The Gorsuch nomination appears headed for a filibuster showdown that could lead Republicans controlling the Senate to change the chamber's rules to confirm Gorsuch.


10:10 a.m.

Top Senate Democrat Charles Schumer is now officially on record as opposing President Donald Trump's choice for the Supreme Court.

The New York Democrat also said he would lead a filibuster against appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch. He said Gorsuch "almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak."

Schumer said doesn't think Gorsuch would serve as a check on Trump or be a mainstream justice. He blasted Gorsuch for refusing to answer "question after question after question" in hearings this week.

Schumer's position is no surprise; Democrats remain angry that Republicans controlling the Senate denied former president Barack Obama a hearing on his choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died more than a year ago.


3:00 a.m.

Lawyers, advocacy groups and former colleagues get their say on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee after Judge Neil Gorsuch emerged unscathed from two days of tough questioning at his confirmation hearing.

Assured of support from majority Republicans, Gorsuch received glowing GOP reviews but complaints from frustrated Democrats that he concealed his views from the American public. Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, refused repeated attempts to get him to talk about key legal and political issues of the day. But he did tell Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who worried that Gorsuch would vote to restrict abortion, that "no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days."

On Thursday, the panel hears from the American Bar Association, which already gave him a unanimous "well qualified" rating.