One day last fall I met a woman at a bakery in Lebanon who told me something I haven’t forgotten: no matter what happens, you must protect the future of the Supreme Court.
Hoosiers voted the way they did last November for many reasons – jobs, healthcare, national security – but I heard time and again that seating judges who would not legislate from the bench was among the top priorities for Indiana voters.
This week, Judge Neil Gorsuch underwent four days of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I met with Judge Gorsuch face-to-face last month, and though I came away impressed, I pledged to wait for his hearing before determining if he was the type of jurist Hoosiers demanded last November.
Today, I can say without a doubt that Judge Gorsuch has met Hoosiers’ high expectations. I’m proud to say that I will be voting to confirm him on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Going into this process, I was hopeful that President Trump would nominate someone who was within the mainstream of judicial interpretation and one who came to the job with independence and respect for our constitution. In Judge Gorsuch, President Trump made a great pick.
The role of a jurist in our constitutional system is to apply the text of the constitution and legislative statutes impartially and independently. Throughout his career, and especially during his confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch has made it clear he understands the limited but essential scope of a judge’s responsibility.
Judge Gorsuch has said that “a judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.”
This statement reflects Judge Gorsuch’s faithful obedience of the law rather than his personal policy preferences. Throughout his confirmation hearings, he left no doubts that he understands his constitutional role and is committed to safeguarding the rule of law.
Over 200 Republican and Democratic lawyers from Judge Gorsuch’s home state of Colorado recently wrote a letter, which hailed him as “fair, decent, and honest, both as a judge and a person.”
Not long ago, bipartisan support for eminently qualified judicial nominees extended to the Senate. When Gorsuch was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2006, his confirmation was unanimous. Among those who supported him were Democrats you may have heard of: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and current Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
I’m hopeful for a bipartisan vote this time around, but the tone of the hearings has left me less than optimistic. Bitter partisanship drives our political dialogue, and I fear Hoosier common sense has taken a backseat.
The calls I’ve received against Judge Gorsuch simply didn’t convince me he wasn’t right for the court. Many simply said no Trump appointee should be confirmed. Others said no on Gorsuch because Merrick Garland didn’t get a vote. A small group said Judge Gorsuch wasn’t for the little guy.
After watching the hearings, I came away confident Judge Gorsuch isn’t “for” anybody; he is an independent-minded jurist who is for the facts and the law. That’s exactly what we need on the Supreme Court.
I believe Hoosiers gave me a mandate to support Supreme Court nominees who will interpret the Constitution as it was originally intended, not as a document that changes with the political or cultural winds.
In Judge Gorsuch, President Trump found an individual who embodies the characteristics most Hoosiers are looking for on our nation’s highest court. I’m excited to vote to confirm him in the coming weeks on behalf of Hoosiers.