Franken vs. Gorsuch: What Do You Think About Trump Admin Calling Your Nomination A Promise Fulfilled? Gorsuch: "I'm Not God"


SEN. AL FRANKEN: Okay, can I move on to something else then? You've given a version of this answer before. So I understand. I understand. I'd like to return to something I raised in my opening statement, and that's your view of administrative law.

Standing before conservative activists gathered at CPAC, the conservative political action committee, President Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and his white House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, outlined the president's agenda. Two topics were featured prominently. Deregulation and your nomination. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Reince Priebus started by explaining why nominating you was so important for the president to do right out of the gate. He said, referring to your nomination, "number one, we're not talking about a changeover of a four year period, we're talking about a change of potentially 40 years of law, number one.

Nomination, quote, number one, we're not talking about a change over a four year period. We're talking about a change of potentially 40 years of law, number one. That's change of potentially 40 years of law. Change the law. You and your colleagues here said the job of a judge is to follow the law, even if he dislikes the results. You've said that. Not change the law. But change 40 years of the law. But that's what Reince Priebus said this is about.

When the White House Chief of Staff is talking to his friends at CPAC, he says a justice's job, your job, is to change 40 years of law. Yet my colleagues and you say it's to follow the laws as written. Well it can't be both, so which is it?

GORSUCH: Senator, it's to be a judge. To be fair. To follow the law. To apply it to the facts and circumstances of each case. And to live out my judicial oath, on whichever court I serve on, whether it's the tenth circuit where I've served for the last 10 years --


GORSUCH: -- and where my opinions have been unanimous 97 percent of the time, Senator.

FRANKEN: I understand that. And again, you've given many times that answer. So, if you'll indulge me -- Mr. Priebus went on to say your nomination was central to President Trump fulfilling his policy objectives. Quote, Neil Gorsuch represents a type of judge that has the vision of Donald Trump. And he added (ph), referring to your nomination, fulfills the promise that he made to all of you. Speaking to the conservative activists gathered at CPAC.

What do you think Mr. Priebus was talking about? Was he suggesting that if confirmed, you would be positioned to shape the court's decisions for the next 40 years or was suggesting you could reach back 40 years, Roe v. Wade turned 44 this year. And President has promised to nominate judges who would overturn Roe. Chevron is 33 years old. I think this is a legitimate question. Was Mr. Priebus suggesting that you go back and change 40 years, or upset a law, or have an effect on the law moving forward?

GORSUCH: Respectfully, Senator, Mr. Priebus doesn't speak for me and I don't speak for him. I don't appreciate how people -- when people characterize me, as I'm sure you don't appreciate it when people characterize you. I like to speak for myself. I am a judge. I am my own man.

FRANKEN: OK. I just want to -- just -- we've had some talk about this. I don't think we're crazy --


-- to think that the administration and Reince Priebus -- I don't think he was lying. And doesn't it -- doesn't it -- are you comfortable with your nomination being described in such transactional terms?

GORSUCH: Senator, there's a lot about this process I'm uncomfortable with. A lot. But I'm not God. No one asked me to fix it. I'm here as a witness trying to faithfully answer your questions as best I can, consistent with the constraints I have as a sitting judge. Here to answer questions about my qualifications, and my record.

Show commentsHide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives