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tv   U.S. Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court 54-45  CSPAN  April 7, 2017 9:30am-12:42pm EDT

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justice. the senate expected to hold a final confirmation vote onthe nominee between 11:30 and 11:45 eastern. if confirmed, judge gorsuch would be the 113th supreme court justice , replacing the late antonia and scalia. this follows yesterday's action that resulted in a change in senate filibuster rules, a procedure known as the so-called nuclear option today which you can also hear reactions us missile strikes in syria. live to the floor of the us senate here on c-span2. >> the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. lord god of hosts be with us yet.
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lest we forget that our work on capitol hill matters to your kingdom. lord, with the military response against syria, we are reminded again that eternal vigilance is the price for freedom. continue to provide our lawmakers with opportunities to serve your purposes on earth. may they take seriously the responsibilities entrusted to them in their stewardship of the legislative branch. remind them that you know the
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pressures they must confront as they strive to serve you and country. bestow upon them the blessing of your presence that will guard their hearts with your peace. lord, give them the confidence that in following you they can be certain of ultimate triumph. we pray in your holy name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: last evening the vice president notified me of the president's decision to respond to the syrian regime's use of chemical weapons against its own people through military action. the action was taken to deter the assad regime from using chemical weapons again. i support both the action and the objective. the planning of this operation
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was clearly well considered, it was taken against the sharad air field where chemical weapons had been stored and taken against assets against the regime and hardened shelters. in the days ahead i'm committed to work with the administration to have a counter isil strategy and establishes objectives for dealing with the assad regime in a manner that preserves the institutions of government in an effort to prevent a failed associate -- state. our appreciation goes out to the world's military which presented capabilities and plans to the commander in chief and executed a difficult mission. none of this occurs without sears -- years of training by
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our servicemembers. this was an action of consequence, it's a clear signal from america that bashar al-asad can no longer use chemical weapons against his people with no impugnity. attention to all senators, we will have a briefing on this matter later today. on another matter. yesterday was a cons convention one -- consequential one for the senate. we used a tool that democrats first employed in to 13. as a result we will move to the confirmation of judge gorsuch shortly. he's going to make an incredible addition to the court. he's going to make the american people proud. after all, at this point a few things about this man seem beyond dispute. he has sterling credentials, an
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excellent record and an ideal judicial temperament. he has the independence of mind for fairness. president obama's former acting solicitor general lauded judge gorsuch as one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last half century. while president obama's legal mentor called judge gorsuch a brilliant, terrific guy who would do the court's work with distinction. an appointee of president clinton, james robertson, said that judge gorsuch is well -- well prepared and well qualified to serve as an associate justice of the supreme court. there's no real dispute about that. an appointee of president carter's, judge john kaine, said, i'm not sure we can expect better than judge gorsuch or
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that better presently exists. in other words, no one is better. and, of course, we all know what long-time democrat and board member the left-leaning constitution society, david frederick, had to say about judge gorsuch, the senate should confirm him because there is no principle reason to vote no. no principle reason to vote no. there's a reason neil gorsuch enjoys the support of a bipartisan portion of the senate. there's a reason that a partisan majority stands ready to confirm him today. he's an exceptional choice and i'm very much looking forward to confirming him today. of course, i wish that important aspects of this process had played out differently. it didn't have to be this way. but today is a new day. i hope my democratic friends will take this moment to reflect and perhaps consider a turning
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point in their outlook going forward. the senate has a number of important issues to consider in the coming months. each member, if he or she chooses, can play a critical part in the process. i would urge colleagues to consider the role they can play and i ask them to consider what we've been able to achieve in years past by working together, including the numerous bipartisan accomplishments of the last congress. as we all know the senate does more than confirm supreme court nominees, although i sure am looking forward to confirming this one. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the gorsuch nomination which the clerk will report.
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the clerk: nomination, supreme court of the united states. neil gorsuch of colorado to be an associate justice. the presiding officer: under the previous order there will now be two hours of debate equally divided in the usual form. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, first let me address the nomination of judge gorsuch which will soon proceed to a final vote over the objection of we democrats. even though democrats had principled reasons to oppose this judge, even though we offered many times to meet with the majority to discuss a new nominee and a way forward, the republicans chose to break the rules and erase the 60-vote threshold for all judicial nominees. they had many options, and they chose, unfortunately, the nuclear option. i believe it will make this body a more partisan place. it will make the cooling saucer of the senate considerably
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hotter, and i believe it will make the supreme c supme court e partisan place. as a result, america's faith in the integrity of the court and their trust in the basic impartiality of the law will suffer. those are serious things for this republic. prior to yesterday's cloture vote, i shared my views on this moment at length, and i will let those comments stand in the record. now, as i have said repeatedly over the last week, week and a half, let us go no further down this road. i hope the republican leader and i can in the coming months find a way to build a firewall around the legislative filibuster, which is the most important distinction between the senate and the house. without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the senate becomes a majoritarian institution like the house, much more subject to the whims of short-term electoral change. no senator would like to see this happen, so let's find a way
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to further protect stt 60-vote rule for legislation. now, madam president, since he will soon become the ninth justice of the court, i hope judge gorsuch has listened to our debate here in the senate, particularly about our concerns about the supreme court increasingly drifting towards becoming a more pro-corporate court that favors employers, corporations and special interests over working americans. we all know there's an anger and sourness in the land because average people aren't getting a fair shake compared to the powerful. in many cases, the supreme court is the last resort for everyday americans who are seeking fairness and justice against forces much larger than themselves. at a time when folks are struggling to stay in the middle class and are struggling as hard
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as ever to get into the middle class, we need a justice on the court who will help swing it back in the direction of the people, so we are charging judge gorsuch to be the independent and fair-minded justice that america badly needs. if he is instead a justice for the federalist society and the heritage foundation, that will spell trouble for america. finally, mr. president -- madam president, on syria, i salute the professionalism and skill of our armed forces who took action last night. the people of syria have suffered untold horrors and violence at the hands of bashar al-assad, and his supporters in tehran and in putin's russia. making sure that assad knows when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do. it is now, however, incumbent on
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the trump administration to come up with a coherent strategy and consult with congress before implementing it. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: will we suspend the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: madam president, i want to talk about what we're doing today and how important it is and how unique it is in the history of the sun since 1789,
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112 people have served on the supreme court. it's hard not to be reminded today as we vote for the replacement for justice scalia that he served on the court for 26 years after ronald reagan who left -- appointed him left the white house and 13 years after president reagan died, so clearly the impact of a supreme court appointment for a nomination for the president, a confirmation for the senate is one of those things that has the potential to last long beyond either the service of those in the senate at the time or certainly beyond those of the president at the time, and so it's a significant decision. a federal court appointment, generally an appointment for life, is different than an appointment for someone who serves during the tenure of the president, and i think almost
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all of us look at judicial appointments differently than we look at cabinet appointments and other appointments that are concurrent with the president's term. this is an appointment that lasts for as long as the judge is willing to serve and able to serve, and at 49 years old, judge gorsuch, who's already been a judge for ten years, so he should know whether he likes being a judge or not, and it would appear and we would hope that he would have a long and healthy life to use his skills on the court. i think those skills are very obvious in the over 2,000 decisions he has been part of, of the 800 decisions he's written as a circuit judge, a circuit judge, the appeals judge above other federal judges and right below the supreme court, so someone who comes to this
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job, understanding the job with a significant body of work, that the senate's had plenty of time to look at and the president had time to look at before this nomination was made, and that those 800 opinions judge gorsuch has written, he has been overturned by the court, he will now sit on the u.s. supreme court exactly one time. that's a pretty incredible decision making if one out of eight times that the court, that is the court of appeals, the supreme court in this case, decides that your decision did not meet your view. it doesn't mean your decision didn't meet your view of the law if you're judge gorsuch or your view of the constitution, and, of course, after today, his view of how you apply the law will go to the court with him. you know, the things that i
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said -- that judge gorsuch has said at the white house event when his nomination was announced. he said a good judge is not always happy with their opinions. what would that mean? i thought this was a reassuring sense in his job as a job. his job is to read the law, look at the constitution and determine how the facts of the case meet the reality of the law. one of the things that makes this a great country to live in, a great country to work in, a great country to take a chance in is the one thing you can rely on, hopefully, is the rule of law. the one thing you can rely on is when good lawyers read the law that they all understand it to mean the same thing and you move forward with whatever decision you make on that. so what judge gorsuch was personal opinions aren't always satisfied by reading the law. what he also, i think, reflects
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is the view that the law is what the law was intended to mean at the time. there are ways to change the law. if the country has changed, if the circumstances have changed, there are ways to change the law. that is our job. that is not the job of any federal judge anywhere, including on the supreme court. their job is to determine what the law was intended to mean when it was written. their job is to determine what the constitution was intended to mean when it was written. and everything the constitution intended wasn't what we want to live with today and that's why we have that long list of amendments starting with the bill of rights. even immediately the people who wrote the constitution said, we've got to add things to this because this doesn't mean what it really is meant to mean, but
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that's not the job of the court. that's the job of the congress to pass laws, the president to do his job of vetoing or sending those laws back and signing them into law, and the court's job is what judge gorsuch understands it to be. in his hearings he said i have one client and that client is the law. that client is not either party appearing before the court. that party is not the government -- that client is not the government. that client is the law. i think he also said judges are not politicians in robes. we have a job to do that's different than the job of the court, and i think as we send judge gorsuch to the court today to be the 113th person in the history of the country to serve on the court, we send a person that takes an understanding of
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what a judge should do that most americans, when they think about what the court is supposed to do, would clearly understand that is the job of the court. there are other jobs to be done and they are to be done other places. i think he would a -- he will be a great addition to the court. i think ten years of experience as a judge who is the judge that other federal judges' cases are appealed to, what great training he has had to be ready for the court. and then, of course, to get this job done, we had to return to the traditional standard that has always been the standard in the country until the last few years for how presidential nominations are dealt with. easy to confuse, i think, the unique role of the senate in having some barriers that the house doesn't have to advancing
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legislation and since basically 1789 that's been applied to legislation. the senate has always seen its job as we want to be sure that the minority is heard before we move forward, but starting in 1789 there was never a -- a supermajority for presidential nominations whether it was to their cabinet or the court. it is impossible to find, even before 1968, any case where the senate came together and said, we're officially going to decide we're not going to have a vote on this judge. now, not every judge got a vote, but when every judge got a vote, a majority of senators determined whether that judge would go on the court or not. two members of the court today didn't get 60 votes. clarence thomas got 52 votes.
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i think judge alito got 58 votes, but two members didn't get 60 votes, but nobody thought they needed 60 votes because that had never been part of the structure of how judges got to the court. so i think what we've done this week is returned the senate to essentially the practice on presidential nominees that for 214 years was the way nominees were always dealt with. in 2013, the senate, controlled by our friends on the other side of the aisle, decided that there are roughly 1,250 nominations and they decided every nomination that was available to them, every judge where there was a vacancy, every person the president might have had a vacancy to fill would be determined by a simple majority. from that moment on everybody, i
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think, should not have been surprised that when you eventually had a supreme court vacancy, and this is the first one since that happened, that whoever was in charge would extend that same majority to the supreme court. so now all presidential nominees are back to where they were for 214 years, but i heard the majority leader -- i heard my friend, mr. schumer -- talk about the importance of us recommitting ourselves to the protections for the minority in passing legislation. madam president, i -- i think we can do that, and, frankly, i think this exercise of refreshing our -- our minds on how legislation has always been handled in that way, i believe, has probably created a greater
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commitment to that -- to the legislative supermajority to move forward with debate than we've had for a while. i think the leader of our friends on the other side -- certainly the leader on our side have both said nobody is willing to back down on the challenges that the senate faces when we're required to come together to get things done. you know, the senate, even if it was a majority vote in the senate -- the senate is unique in that the senate -- it takes six years for every senator to run for election after some new sense of the direction of the country occurs, voters basically have to say again, and again, and maybe a third time, no, we really want to change the way the country was run up until now. quick decisions are not necessarily the best decisions in a democracy, and in our
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democracy this institution, the senate, is the legislative institution that determines that there is a necessary either coming together of the people who are here at the time or voters to say another time, no, you didn't get it the first time. we are sending different people because we really want to make this change. so i think that the vote today in the traditions of the country sends that 113th person in the history of america to serve a lifetime term on the court. i am confident that the president's nominee and the senate's decision to send that nominee to the court sends a good person to the court with a good understanding of what the supreme court of the united states is supposed to be. their job is not to look at the law and try to determine what it should have said or to look at the constitution and determine what it should have said but to
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look at the law and the constitution and determine what it says. judge gorsuch, as well as any person who has ever appeared before the senate to stand available for that understands that principle, will take that principle to the cower, will work with -- to the court, will work with his colleagues as he did on the tenth circuit to rally around what the law says and what people can rely on in a country where our freedoms should be secure and that the courts are there for what is right and the judges are not there for what they -- i look forward to judge gorsuch being a member of the court in the very near future. madam president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona.
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mr. mccain: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i rise today to support the nomination of -- and confirming judge neil m. gorsuch to the united states supreme court. i do so with mixed emotions because i believe that the act of taking an order to -- the action taken in order to achieve this position will have lasting effect that are unfortunate on this body as far as comity is concerned, but also the confirmation of future judges of the supreme court by 51 votes. rather than go back to the history of what former majority leader reid did in regard to judges and what we're doing now, i am very concerned about the future which will then with only a 51-vote majority required will
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lead to polarization of the nominees as far as their philosophies are concerned when the majority does not have to consider the concerns and the votes of the minority. my focus on the democrats' unprecedented filibuster of judge gorsuch's nomination to the united states supreme court and the senate's regrettable action yesterday to invoke the nuclear option on supreme court nominees, i have been remiss in not taking the time to describe for the american people what i support -- why i support strongly and without qualification confirming judge gorsuch to serve as an associate justice of the united states supreme court. why i do so is very simple. rarely has this body seen a nominee to the supreme court so well qualified, so skilled, with such a command of constitutional jurisprudence, with such an established record of independence and such judicial
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temperament than judge gorsuch. it is in fact exactly for these very reasons that this very body unanimously voted, unanimously voted in 2006 to confirm this very judge, the same judge to the u.s. court of appeals for the tenth circuit. yet now the other side would have the american people believe that this very same judge lies firmly outside the mainstream and is therefore otherwise unacceptable to serve in the nation's highest court. even by the standards of this body, this is breathtaking. let me take a moment to join the chorus of support among my colleagues and recount why judge gorsuch is so deserving of this body's support for confirmation to the supreme court. first and foremost, judge gorsuch is a world-class jurist. on the u.s. appellate court for the tenth circuit, judge gorsuch has maintained the lowest rate of other judges dissenting from
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his opinion. indeed, according to the congressional research service, only 1.5% of judge gorsuch's majority opinions were accompanied by a dissent, the lowest of any judge in that study. notably, the u.s. supreme court has never overruled any of judge gorsuch's opinions, not a single one. furthermore, in the more than 2,700 cases judge gorsuch participated in, 97% of them were decided unanimously, and judge gorsuch was in the majority 99% of the time. these are facts. in addition, the u.s. supreme court overruled an opinion where judge gorsuch sat on the panel only one time. while serving on that court, judge gorsuch built an exceptional reputation for his fair-minded, articulate and sharp intellect. stanford president michael mcconnell who served with
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judge gorsuch on the tenth circuit characterized judge gorsuch as a, quote, independent thinker, never a party liner, and, quote, one of the best writers in the judiciary today. he sets forth all positions fairly and gives real reasons, not just conclusions, for siding with one and rejecting the other. second, judge gorsuch has one of the most impressive professional and academic backgrounds this body has ever seen. he graduated from columbia university cum laude and phi beta kappa and cum laude from harvard law school. he also obtained a doctorate in philosophy from oxford university and served as a truman and marshall scholar. additionally, he clerked for u.s. circuit court judge david centell and supreme court justices brron white and anthony kennedy. judge gorsuch also served as principal deputy assistant attorney general at the department of justice before serving as a judge on the u.s. circuit court of appeals for the
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tenth circuit. for all of these achievements, judge gorsuch has earned the highest possible rating from a group the minority leader schumer calls, quote, the gold standard for evaluating judicial nominations. finally, judge gorsuch has established himself as an exceptional nominee. indeed, judge gorsuch's appearance before the senate judiciary committee was extraordinary. in the course of the three rounds of questioning by that committee, each member had the opportunity to quiz judge gorsuch for over an hour each on just about every aspect of constitutional law and answering about 1 ,]had 200 questions from the panel, he demonstrated almost peerless mastery over that field. furthermore, judge gorsuch's nomination with the help of my friend and former member of this body, kelly ayotte, was exemplary in its transparency.
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before his hearing and in response to the judiciary's request, judge gorsuch provided over 70 pages of written answers about his personal record and over 75,000 pages of documents, including speeches, case briefs and opinion, which, by the way, makes you wonder why he wanted the job. but anyway, white house archives and the document of justice similarly produced over 1,800 pages -- 180,000 pages of documents related to judge gorsuch's time at the d.o.j. the department of justice, moreover, provided access to reams of documents that would orderly be subject to claims of privilege. however, in the spirit of cooperation, in the hope of truly a bipartisan consideration, the department of justice provided my friends on the other side access to these records anyway. additionally, in response to almost 300 separate questions posed by democrats on the committee, judge gorsuch
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provided another 70 pages of written responses and did so within a week of receiving them to give my friends sufficient time to review the answers before the committee vote and floor consideration of his nomination. despite all that i just said, despite everything that i just said, my friends on the other side would have the american people believe that judge gorsuch lies firmly out of the mainstream and hopelessly obfuscated his judicial philosophy. my friends, when you do that with a man, an individual that qualified, you lose credibility. for all the reasons i just went through, that is simply untrue. moreover, many of my friends on the other side had the opportunity to question judge gorsuch over the 20 hours they had with him during his confirmation hearing, they contented themselves with asking judge gorsuch for his personal opinions on issues that could come before him if he is confirmed to the court. in addition, they passed
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hypotheticals they knew he for ethical and prudential reasons could not possibly be expected to answer. here's some straight talk. the real reason why most of my friends on the other side oppose judge gorsuch's confirmation is that president trump nominated him, because their base of support and related special interests on the far left have been upset about president trump's election in november. the fact is that if most of my colleagues on -- my friends, friends on the other side of the aisle are opposed to this nominee, they will oppose any nominee put forward by this president or any republican president, for that matter. mr. president, the record is clear. judge gorsuch's qualifications, knowledge, skill, judicial temperament and record of independence are truly exceptional. for these reasons, he has earned my strong and unqualified
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support for his confirmation to the nation's highest court. could i just make one additional comment? i know my friend from utah is waiting. when president obama and presidents before them were elected from both parties, it was pretty much the standard procedure here in the united states senate to give the incoming president the benefit of the doubt. in other words, the american people, by electing the president of the united states, had also basically endorsed his responsibility and his right to nominate judges to the courts. that just is sort of a given, because you're -- because the american people spoke in their selection of the president of the united states, taking into consideration those responsibilities that the president would have. so therefore, for those reasons, i voted for most of president obama's nominees, as i did most
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of president clinton's nominees. now we're in a position where we are so polarized that even a man of the qualifications of judge gorsuch is now opposed by our friends on the other side of the aisle. i say to my friends on the other side of the aisle and i say to my friends on this side of the aisle, that's not the way the senate was designed to work. the united states senate was designed for us to communicate, for us to work together, for us to understand the results and repercussions of a fee and fair election. and it's about time that we sat down together and tried to do some things for the american people in a bipartisan fashion. and this near hysterical opposition that i see from my friends on the other side of the aisle does not bode well for what we know we need to do. madam president, i recognize the
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presence of the distinguished senator from utah and i say distinguished because both he and i are of advanced age. senator, i yield the floor. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i appreciate my colleague from arizona. he's one of the great senators and we all pay attention to what he has to say, especially on foreign policy and military affairs and so many other things as well. people ought to be listening to what he is saying with regard to this judgeship. i have great respect for senator mccain and always will. he's one of the true, truly great senators in this body. i just wish my colleagues on the other side would pay a little more attention to what he has to say here today. thank you, senator. madam president, i rise today in strong support of the confirmation of dr. heather wilson to be the 24th secretary of the air force. i've had the privilege of knowing dr. wilson since her election to congress where is he
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distinguishedderself as a member of the house intelligence committee. in my interactions with dr. wilson on the intelligence committee, it quickly became apparent that she is a person of great intellect and exceptional character but this should come as no surprise since she's always achieved a level of excellence in each of her endeavors. she knew success if an early age. she made history as one of the first female graduates of the air force academy. at the academy she thrived as a student eventually earning a rhodes scholarship where she earned a ph.d. in international relations. dr. wilson then wrote a well received book titled "international law and the use of force by national liberation movement the." as a lawyer i was particularly impressed by dr. wilson's indepth analysis of international law. what is all the more impressive, the book was published as she was serving as director of
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defense policy and arms control for the national security council. good wilson's -- dr. wilson's commitment to national security was evident when she served in the house of representatives from 1998 to 2009. when she left the house after more than a decade of service. congress' loss was south dakota's gain. in 2013 she became the president of the south dakota school of minds and technology. she showed extraordinary skill leading a large institution. madam president, in sum, dr. heather wilson is a person of great intellect, strong management skills, and superlative character. i believe she will be an outstanding secretary of the air force which is why i strongly encourage my colleagues to confirm her without delay. madam president, confirming dr. wilson with dispatch is necessary to address the many challenges currently facing our military. after all, there are fundamental
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issues regarding the readiness of our armed services, especially the air force which must be confronted and resolved. although the lack of proper investment and training is evident in each of the military departments, i am especially concerned about the air force because of its unique missions and responsibilities. two words describe each set of problems facing our air force. quote, too few, unquote. too few aircraft. too few personnel, including pilots. too few flight training hours. regarding the shortage of aircraft as the air force vice chief of staff recently testified before the readiness subcommittee, less than 50% of the services aircraft are ready to perform all of the combat missions to which she are assigned. the average age of the services fighter aircraft is 27 years
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old. many other aircraft, including the b-52 and kc-135 have decades of wear and tear. the aging aircraft of the 1950's and 1960's will be retained in the force for the foreseeable future. the current number of 55 fighter squadrons falls short of the number needed to fulfill our war fighters requirements. as dr. wilson testified during her confirmation hearing, quote, the air force is not fully ready to fight against a near near-per competitor, unquote, such as china or russia. the number of aircraft is one of the multiple issues facing the air force. we also have too few personnel, including pilots. our aircraft that matter how advanced cannot fly without experienced and highly trained maintenance personnel and we need 3400 more before the service can effectively
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accomplish its mission. we are also running short of the men and women who fly these aircrafts. in a recent testimony before the air land subcommittee, senior air force officers testified that the service had a deficit of 1,555 pilots and of that number, we require more than 750 additional fighter pilots. further, there is concern that those pilots who remain are receiving -- very few flight training hours. much less than needed. madam president, these are enormous challenges. despite the herculean task in front of us, i have no doubt dr. wilson will develop the strategies and policies required to restore our air force to a full state of readiness. madam president, i hope the senate will speed the confirmation of dr. wilson to become the 24th secretary of the air force. madam president, on the other
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subject, i'm very concerned with the way neil gorsuch has been treated. you could not have a finer person, a more ready person, more knowledgeable person, more legal expert type of a person than neil gorsuch for this very, very important calling on the supreme court. it's amazing to me how some of my colleagues on the other side have ignored all of the facts, all of the evidence, all of the experience, all of the goodness of this man. and i hope we'll not vote against us but looks to me many are going to vote against him. if you vote against neil gorsuch, who can you support? are you just going to support people who do your bidding? are you going to support people
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who really can do the nation's bidding? and dot things that this country needs? neil gorsuch is that type of a person. he is that kind -- he has that kind of ability. he has that kind of experience. he's a terrific human being. and whether you agree or disagree with him, you walk away saying, well, he certainly makes a lot of good points. and you walk away saying i he's somebody i can work with. he's somebody that really loves his country. he's somebody who sets an exemplary example in every way. i have to say that i've seen my years of service here, i've seen a number of supreme court nominations. i've seen a number of people put on the court. and they've all been exceptional people, but there's none of them
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that exceed neil gorsuch. he is that good. and it's kind of a shame that we can't in a bipartisan way support this selection. i suspect there's more to it than just judge gorsuch. i think our colleagues on the other side know that this is early in president trump's reign as president of the united states and that he might very well have another one, two, or even three or four nominees to the court. and i don't blame my colleagues on the other side for being concerned because let's face it, he is unlikely to put people on the court with whom they agree. on the other hand, he is very likely to put people on the court who are great lawyers, who have had great experience, who will bring great distinction to the court, and who will without telling us how they're going to
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vote and how they're going to rule, do the job that we all count on the supreme court doing. the supreme court to me is a sacred institution. we've had great justices on both sides, on all sides, as a matter of fact. we've had great democrat justices. we've had great republican justices. and no one knows how great a nominee is going to be until that nominee actually serves on the court and does the job that is so difficult to do as a member of the united states supreme court. neil gorsuch i have every confidence will be one of the all-time great justices for that court. he deserves confirmation. he deserves overwhelming confirmation. if we weren't in such a dispute tif -- disputeitive mood around
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here, if we didn't have so much problems with each other, he would be a -- he'd be an easy person to support. i hope we can put our politics aside and look at the man, look at his experience, look at his ability, look at his genius. look at his decency. look at the fact that he agreed with his colleagues on 99% of the cases coming before the tenth circuit court of appeals and most of those were democrats. look at those things and say, my gosh, would are we about here? has it just become a politicized exercise every time we have a supreme court nomination one way or the other? i have to admit it looked as though hillary clinton was going to win. senator mcconnell decided that we should not put merrick garland on during a presidential election which i think is a good
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decision. it was a sincere decision. and it looked as though hillary clinton was going to win, that she might very well put a much more liberal justice on the court -- or judge on the court than merrick garland. the fact of the matter is that senator mcconnell knew the odds were against republicans winning the presidency this last election and to some it was kind of miraculous for donald trump to win. it wasn't miraculous to me because last may donald trump called me and asked me to support him. i said you don't want me. i said, i'm the kiss of death. he laughed and he said, what do you mean kiss of death? i said well, i supported jeb bush. he went down to defeat. and i supported marco rubio, my colleague in the senate, and he had to withdraw.
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i said, so i'm the kiss of death. he said, i want you any way. so i became one of two senators who supported this president -- this now president of the united states. and was gratified to see him win that election. i thought he could. deep down i knew there was a great chance because i was going all over the country and i found that people were not willing to say who they were for. and i knew darn well they were for trump. they just didn't want to admit it. especially democrats but he got an overwhelming number of democrats and i understand them. i learned to trade as a young man, to vote for him. when i say i learned to trade, i was born not with the wealth of some of our colleagues. i was born what some people tod. we didn't think we were poverty
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stricken. but my parents were very solid, decent, honorable people, but they were poor. and, frankly, poor in the sense of monetary value. but they were good, honest, decent people. and i feel very blessed to have been raised by them. and all i can say is this. to allow the selection of a supreme court nominee to come down to wide -- vote against that nominee, of the quality of neil gorsuch if that's what my colleagues on the other side in their wisdom decide to do, i think it's a disgrace. i think it flies in the face of years and years of people selected for the court. now, we can all differ. everybody has that right. all i can say is i just wish we were more together as a body.
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i have great respect for my democratic colleagues as well as my republican colleagues. this is the greatest deliberative body in the world and despite our difficulties and our differences, we do do a lot of really good things for this country. and we do it at its best in a bipartisan way when we can. madam president, i suggest the absence of quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: -- quorum call:
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mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: madam president, i'd like to start briefly by mentioning the horrific chemical attack on innocent civilians in syria earlier this week. it was nothing short of evil and i stand shoulder to shoulder with the administration in condemning this brutality. again we see bashar al-assad crossing a line, a line drawn and then ignored by the obama administration. the united states and the world community simply can't stand idly while syria continues crimes against humanity. again, under russian protection. that's why last night the administration responded quickly and proportionately, and i commend the president and his national security team for acting decisively and sending a clear message to assad and our allies. and i'm sure in a
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message that wasn't missed by the leaders of the iranian government, the russian federation, and north korea. i agree with ambassador haley that russia's obstructionism at the u.n. has enabled assad and prevented international action, resulting in at least 400,000 syrians dead in this civil war and millions other displaced as refugees not only internally but externally as well. going forward, i stand ready to work with the president and his administration on a unified strategy to defeat assad's barbarism and to work toward greater stability in syria and throughout the region. madam president, on another subject, as we all know, here in about 20 minutes we will start the vote to confirm neil gorsuch as the next justice of the united states supreme court. over the last few weeks our colleagues and i have, and the entire
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country as a matter of fact, have gotten to know judge neil gorsuch not only as a judge but as a man. he is a good man of superb qualifications and incredible integrity. a colorado native, judge gorsuch has served on the denver-based tenth circuit court of appeals for about ten years. he's known for his sharp intellect, his brilliant writing and his faithful interpretation of the constitution and laws passed by congress. he is, in short, a distinguished jurist with an impeccable legal and academic record. in addition to his decade on the bench, his professional experience includes years practicing in a private law firm, press -- prestigious clerkships including the supreme court under two separate justices and service in the department of justice. it is undenying that judge gorsuch is a
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qualified high-caliber nominee and i have no doubt that he will serve our nation well on the supreme court. but of course, in spite of all this, his sterling background, proven character, broad bipartisan support, we've seen an unprecedented attack on this good judge and this good man in the form of a partisan political filibuster, the first ever lodged against a supreme court nominee. yesterday our democratic colleagues would have prevented an up-or-down vote that we're getting ready to have here starting at 11:30. for what? well, certainly it wasn't because of the judge, his character, his qualifications, his background and experience. it was merely because so many of our colleagues across the aisle simply haven't gotten over the fact that donald trump won the presidential election and hillary clinton didn't. before judge gorsuch was nominated, the minority leader, our colleague, senator schumer, said
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they needed a, quote, mainstream nominee. after president trump nominated a mainstream nominee, democrats looked for other ways to make him out to be some sort of extremist or radical. but they failed because there is simply no evidence to justify those kinds of characterizations. for one, judicial experts spanning the political spectrum, including president obama's former solicitor general, voiced their support. and, second, they had to deal with the facts of his record. during his time on the tenth circuit, judge gorsuch was involved in thousands of decisions, 2,700, to be exact. and the vast majority of those panel decisions made by at least three judges, sometimes more, on the panel, 97% of them were unanimous. so you would basically have to slander the reputations of all those other judges with whom
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the judge agreed to claim that he is some sort of out-of-the mainstream extremist. that is truly an impressive record for a judge in a multijudge court like the denver-based circuit court of appeals, and it simply rebuts any picture our friends across the aisle have attempted to paint of him as some kind of extremist or radical. and i would ask our friends this question, if judge gorsuch doesn't fit the bill for a qualified mainstream nominee, then is there any nominee from this president or any other republican president that will meet the democrats' arbitrary, flimsy standard? time and time again our friends across the aisle failed to make any intellectually honest argument against this nominee, and still they determined to block him. that brought us to the cloture vote yesterday and the last-ditch
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effort to block judge gorsuch. they didn't want to even give him the up-or-down vote that we're getting ready to have here in a few minutes. instead they wanted to kill his nomination by simply refusing an up-or-down vote and moving his nomination forward. in our nation's entire history, before yesterday there had only been four cloture votes for supreme court nominees. only four. none of them had been cast as a partisan filibuster in determining to try to block the nomination. until yesterday. still the minority leader cheered on by the extreme groups on the left barreled this chamber to the first ever partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee following a regrettable and recent tradition of democrat obstructionism when it came to republican judicial nominees. and that's where, now that there's a republican in the white house again, that's what they want to do again,
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is obstruct. this is a wholly concocted method that democrats started back when george w. bush was president, to deny a republican president an opportunity to nominate the person of his choice. confirmed by a majority vote in the senate. before 2000, before senator schumer and a number of liberal legal acadominitions said they wanted to raise the threshold to 60 votes, no one would have ever dreamed that the constitution would have allowed for a 60-vote requirement rather than an up-or-down vote. it's not that our friends across the aisle truly opposed judge gorsuch. the fact is they oppose president trump. that's what this is all about. but this vote isn't actually
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about president trump. it's about the man we've all learned so much about, judge neil gorsuch who has a record of faithfully interpreting the law, a man who has proven himself to possess an independent judicial man, who simply follows the law wherever it may lead and someone who has won bipartisan approval. this vote is about delivering on a promise. republicans promised to let the american people -- to let their voice be heard in deciding who they would choose as president to select the next supreme court justice. the american people did that. they chose president trump, and he chose judge gorsuch. if hillary clinton had been elected president today, i have no doubt that her choice for the supreme court would be confirmed by a majority vote in the same united states senate. so now it's time we deliver on the promise that we made to the american people and confirm judge neil gorsuch to the
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supreme court. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the democratic whiep dush during madam president, i hasn't -- mr. durbin: madam president, i hadn't planned to speak but i thought i ought to add my version. it's slightly different. justice antonin scalia passed away in february of last year. president barack obama, president of the united states of america, had a constitutional responsibility under article 2, section 2, to nominate a person to fill the vacancy on the supreme court as every other president had and he did. he came up with the name merrick garland, the chief judge on the d.c. circuit court of appeals, a man who was widely respected. juneed unanimously well -- judged unanimously well qualified by the american bar association and president obama submitted his name to this congress, to the senate, a senate which is with a
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republican majority and a leader, senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky. senator mcconnell and the republican senators did something that had never happened in the history of this claim better, not once -- chamber, not once. they denied to president obama's nominee the opportunity for a hearing and a vote. in fact, senator mcconnell went further and said i won't even meet with the man. it had never happened before. and you say to yourself, well, come on, this isn't bean bag. you're in washington. this is major league politics. this sort of thing must happen all the time. never. in fact, if you go back not that far in history to 1988 and the last year of president ronald reagan's presidency, his fourth year, some call it the lame duck year, there was a vacancy on the supreme court. republican president ronald reagan sent the name anthony kennedy to a democratically controlled senate which had the power to do the same thing
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senator mcconnell did, deny a hearing, deny a vote. well, what did the democrats do? they gave to justice kennedy a hearing, a vote, and sent him to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. the republicans under senator mcconnell refused merrick garland the same opportunity and they said to president obama, you're in your fourth year. you're a lame duck. your choice for the supreme court really doesn't count. but there was more to it. really the strategy was based on the premise and possibility that a republican would be elected in this last november election. and if so, that republican president could fill the vacancy on the supreme court. well, that's exactly what happened. the election of donald trump gave him the opportunity to fill the vacancy of antonin scalia, a vacancy which should have been filled, i believe, by merrick garland, president obama's nominee. that's what led up to the vote yesterday, but there was more. where did the name neil gorsuch
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come from? it's true. he served on the tenth circuit for ten years. he'd been approved by the united states senate. he certainly had a strong resume, but how did he get on the finalist list? well, most of the time you never know. presidents don't always disclose how they come up with names, but in this case it was very open. because during the course of his campaign, donald trump, the candidate, listed 21 names of people that he would appoint to the u.s. supreme court. on that list of names, neil gorsuch of colorado. how did that name make the list? well, we know. because president trump told us. he was the choice of the federalist society and the heritage foundation. if you know these two organizations, you'd know that they are republican advocacy groups, very conservative groups, and they were going to pick the nominees that were approved by them and submit them to donald trump which he then
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publicized. we know that because at the end of the day, donald trump thanked the federalist society for nominating judge gorsuch. that's how his name came to us. now, i sat through the hearings as a member of the senate judiciary committee. and i will tell you that most supreme court nominees don't go out of their way to volunteer information. they try to be respectful, but they don't try to say much of anything. they don't want to get in trouble either as judges or as candidates to be a judge on the u.s. supreme court. and so there were gaps in his testimony and questions raised about him. but i don't want to dwell on him so much as i want to dwell on this process. what happened yesterday on the floor of the united states senate was unfortunately. the last four justices on the supreme court, two nominated by president obama, sonia sotomayor, elena kagan, two nominated by george w. bush, john roberts as well as justice
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alito, all received 60 votes during the course of their consideration. that is not, as the senator from texas alluded, written in the law per say. but it was written until yesterday in the rules of the senate. you needed 60 votes to overcome the possibility of a fillibuster and to file cloture. well, that rule was changed yesterday to a majority. that's an unfortunate occurrence. a lifetime appointment to the highest court on the land should be more than just a bare majority vote, as i'm concerned and historically with very few exceptions take has been the case. that is not the case here. we found yesterday a change in the rules which was under the power of the majority to do, a change in the rules which lowered the standard for this judge for the first time officially in at least a century to a mere majority vote. that's what he received and that's what brings his nomination to the floor today to be considered for the supreme
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court. at the end of yesterday's session when the rule was changed, some senators were engaged in high fives on the other side of the aisle. i'm not sure why. i don't think it was a time for any winning celebration. i think it was an unfortunate moment. and the question is where will we go from here? we know what the outcome of the vote will be on judge gorsuch this afternoon. that's preordained by the rule struggle that we went through yesterday. but where does the senate go? where should we go? well, i hope that we'll have the good sense to restore the 60-vote margin when it comes to future supreme court nominees. it may mean that justice gorsuch has an asterisk by his name as the only one to have been officially approved with a majority vote, but i'm hoping even if he reaches the supreme court, that that won't hold him back from serving this nation well. i know he's told us over and over again that's exactly what he wants to do. but i would hope that the senate
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would restore the standard o of 640 votes -- 60 votes necessary for the supreme court. i really believe this is an extraordinary opportunity for a person to serve this nation, an extraordinary responsibility, and we should take it very seriously. it shouldn't be a majority decision. it should be a 60-vote decision and i hope we get back to that very soon. secondly, i hope that the senate will not be derailed by the supreme court nomination having happened so early in this session. this is a great institution. i've given a big part of my life to it and look forward to serving more in the senate, not as long as the senator from iowa who i think has retired the trophy in his state for his service in the united states senate. but i do believe that this is a great institution. an example is the senator from iowa, opposite political faith. he and i have worked to egg on some important issue -- to together on some important issues in the past and we want to work together in the future. i think we can and if we can
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restore the glory days of this body, it's in the best interest of this nation. beyond the supreme court nomination, let's hope that we can all come together to make that happen. i see my colleagues filing in. i know they're anxious, many of them to vote. i'm not going to hold the chamber. i'm just going to say that i thank the presiding officer and my friend, the chairman of the senate judiciary committee. i look forward to the vote. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: we're about to vote on the nomination of judge gorsuch. so i would like to say to my colleagues why i'm so pleased that we'll soon be referring to him as justice gorsuch. i opened our judiciary committee hearing with this. as justice scalia said, it is, quote, the proud boast of our democracy that we have a government of law and not man.
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without a secure structure of separated powers, our bill of rights would be worthless. end of scalia's quote. the separation of powers in our constitution is the guardian of our liberty. judge gorsuch understands that. his deep understanding of the separation of powers enlivens his opinions. by faithfully enforcing the boundaries among the branches of government and the power of the federal government in our lives, this justice will ensure that the law protects our liberties. and here's the other thing that's important about a judge who respects the separation of powers. we know that he'll be independent. he told us that he is his own man, that no person speaks for
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him. he's not beholden to the president who appointed him. and his testimony shows that he's not beholding to us in the congress either. he wouldn't compromise his independence to win confirmation votes. he passed the test. this is a man of integrity, and his qualifications for the bench are exceptional. you know the story. columbia university, bachelor's. harvard law school, doctorate. oxford university, partnership at a press siegous -- prestigious law firm and high level julz department -- justice department service to our country but most importantly a decade-long record of faithfully applying the law on the federal
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bench in 2700 cases as a member of the tenth circuit court of appeals. so let me sum up this way. this brilliant, honest, humble man is a judge's judge, and he will make a superb justice. i yield the floor. i suggest the lack of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i yield back the balance of our time on this side. i withhold that request until the arrival of the leader.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that proceedings of the quorum call be dispensed with. the vice president: without objection. mr. durbin: i yield back the balance of time on this side. the vice president: without objection, all time is yielded back. the question occurs on the confirmation of neil m. gorsuch of colorado to be an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states. mr. mcconnell: i ask for the yeas and nays. the vice president: is there a sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vice president: as a reminder,
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expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted from the gallery. is there any senator who wishes to change his or her vote? if not, on this vote, the ayes are 54, the nays are 45, the nomination of neil gorsuch of colorado to be an associate of the supreme court of the united states is confirmed. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. vice president the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to reconsider the vote and table the motion to reconsider. the vice president: all in favor aaye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it.
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the motion is tabled. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the vice president: the question is on the motion. all in favor asie. -- aaye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to descr it, the ayes do have it, the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i move to executive calendar to consider rod rosenstein. the vice president the question somebody on the motion. those in favor say aye. the ayes appear to have it it, they do have it, the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: i send a we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on to the -- i sent a cloture motion to the are desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: rod rosenstein to be
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dispute attorney general. konl i sent -- mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on that rod rosen stein to be deputy attorney general. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the mandatory quorum call be waived, that notwithstanding the provisions of rule 22 the vote occur following the disposition of the perdue nomination on monday, april 24. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from iowa. and the chamber will be in order. mr. grassley: thank you, mr. president. i there's some people that need to have a thank you for what we just completed here. people that hardly ever get any
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attention, to thank them. so i take a couple of minutes to express my appreciation to some of the staff who worked on this supreme court nomination. staff for both the majority and minority put in a lot of hours and reviewed a lot of material. their work ensured that the hearing we held for judge gorsuch went smoothly and was fair to all the members. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. grassley: our staff reviewed all the 2,700 cases judge gorsuch participated in. do you want me to wait, mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. could senators please take their conversations out of the chamber. the senator from iowa.
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the senate will be in order. mr. grassley: going back to my thank yous, our staff reviewed all 2,700 cases judge gorsuch participated in as well as 180,000 pages of documents produced by the department of justice and the george w.b. -- bush library related to that. i would like to recognize my judiciary committee staff director, colin davis. mr. davis has been with me for 31 years, and i always value his wise counsel. my personal office chief of staff, jill kozney, who has been with me for 27 years as well. my deputy staff director is regan lair and my chief nomination counsel is here at my side, ted layman. i'd like to thank
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counsels megan lacey, casey o'connor and catherine willy. each of them worked incredibly hard. also on the team were several special counsels who joined the staff to work on this important nomination. they are dan guenera, bill lane, katie rohol and carol zerkowsky. every one of these talented lawyers played a very important role, and i think every member of senate judiciary committee benefited from their wise counsel throughout this confirmation process. i'd also like to acknowledge and thank ranking member feinstein , the senator from california. the ranking member and her staff approached this process seriously from the very beginning. so i want to thank her staff for all of the work that they put in to
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preparing for the hearing and the debate both in committee and here on the floor. thank you to her staff director, jennifer duck, and several of the other lawyers on her staff who i know put a lot of time into ensuring the hearing was a success. they include paige herwig, nacine mata and khan park. i'm also thankful to my very talented press team, betting -- beth levine and taylor foyd and jan hine and the rest of the judiciary committee staff who took care of things while i was on the floor and during the long hours in the hearing. i also deeply appreciate the work of senator mcconnell's staff who was constantly in contact with my staff, most importantly, john
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abay. the people i mentioned bore the bulk of the workload, laboring tirelessly night after night, day after day, and none stop through the weekends. they deserve our recognition as a tribute to their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to public service. finally, my thanks to the judiciary committee's chief clerk, rosslyn turner and her team michelle heller and jason covey. all of these staff members contributed to this process, and we wouldn't have been able to conduct such a fair and thorough hearing without their hard work and their professionalism. to each of them, i extend a heartfelt thanks. and if i left anybody out, i'll buy them a dairy queen. finally, my wife barbara is in the capitol today. mr. grassley: as always, i thank her for her hard work and
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partnership of 62 years. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. gardner: i want to thank the chairman of the judiciary committee for the work he carried out for the past several months as this nomination proceeded. mostly i want to congratulate judge neil gorsuch on his nomination to the united states supreme court. while people in this chamber voted yea or nay -- som, some voted no -- we recognize the heavy obligation that falls on the shoulders of judge gorsuch as a justice of the united states supreme court. we will lean on judge gorsuch to make sure that our constitution is enforced. the american people will lean on judge gorsuch to make sure that justice is dispensed impartially, equality, that justice is indeed blind. and so to judge gorsuch and his family, congratulations. to the people of this chamber who worked so hard over the past several weeks and months to assure this moment
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happened, thank you. and for the great state of colorado, it is an honor to have a fourth-generation coloradan, a man of the west, grit and determination, join the nation's high court. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. chairman -- mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. a senator: i ask unanimous
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consent that we suspend with the quorum call. mr. sasse: thank you, mr. president. i would like to add my voice to yours in commending the chairman of the judiciary committee, the senator from iowa, just for the honorable, principled and commonsense way in which he's led this committee through the last number of weeks and months as he shepherded the confirmation of judge, now justice gorsuch through this body. the chairman from iowa is a special man, and the 100 of us, or the 99 of us who are privileged and blessed to serve with him know that he's the model of how to conduct yourself hon extraably in this job -- honorably in this job and america will benefit from justice gorsuch joining the court. i would like to add my voice to those commending the senior senator from iowa for the way he's shepherded us through this body. thank you.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i'm proud to say the senate has now confirmed judge neil gorsuch as an associate justice on the supreme court. i want to congratulate
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judge gorsuch on this significant achievement. we look forward to observing his good work in the years to come. the confirmation process was certainly a significant undertaking, one that wouldn't have been possible without the dedicated efforts of so many. so i'd like to take a moment to recognize them now. first i'd like to thank the man who made this moment possible by sending us this outstanding nominee. that's our president, donald trump. this has been one of the most transparent judicial nomination processes anybody -- the presiding officer: the majority leader will suspend. the senate will be in order. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: this has been one of the most transparent judicial nomination processes anybody can remember, and president trump should be commended for his efforts. i also appreciate the role vice president pence played in moving this nomination forward, as well as the outstanding work of the white house staff led by
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don mcgan, for the wise counsel they provided throughout this process. we know how tirelessly our dear friend senator grassley has worked in leading the judiciary committee through this process. he's been an unwavering leader, though we know it hasn't always been easy. chairman grassley worked long and hard to ensure this process ran efficiently to give members on both sides ample opportunity to review the nomination, to see that the nominee was treated respectfully and ultimately to help bring this well-qualified jurist over the finish line. i'd be remiss if i didn't also mention the work of the judiciary committee collectively for its time and effort as well. i'm referring to members of the committee, and i'm referring to chairman grassley's excellent judiciary staff as well. they were critical to this effort and specifically i want to thank the following -- staff director colin davis, chief nominations
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counsel ted layman, communications director beth levine, may go -- may go hahn lacey, catherine wiler, bill lane, carl zerkowsky, dan wernorol, and katie rohol. i'd like to acknowledge our former colleague kelly ayotte from dozens of neatings with senators -- meetings with senators she helped ensure this process ran as smooth as possible and she did so with a sense of grace we all came to know when she was one of our colleagues. similarly, i want to recognize several white house legislative affairs staff who helped guide judge gorsuch through this process, including mary elizabeth taylor, mark short, and amy slomber. there are several others i'd like to thank now as well. to the floor staff,
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laura dove, robert duncan and their team. thank you for keeping the floor running smoothly and guiding us through senate procedure. you all do incredible work. very difficult work, and you make it look effortless while each -- during each and every time. to the folks who keep our institution running, the parliamentarians, clerks, reporters of debates, doorkeepers, capitol police and numerous others who sacrifice and work long, often grueling hours, thank you for everything you do and for always doing it with a smile. of course i'd also like to thank my republican colleagues for their months of hard work. it's been a winding and sometimes bumpy road, but together we were able to confirm a judge who i believe will serve this country very well. in particular let me thank republican whip john cornyn and his team led by monica popp for their efforts. theirs is certainly not
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an easy job but it's a necessary one. now there are a few others i couldn't leave today without mentioning. to each and every member of my own staff, i want to express my sincere appreciation. there are almost too many names to mention. but if i may i'd like to acknowledge a few individuals who have been particular assets through this entire process. my chief of staff, sharon soderstrom. she led our team through this arduous confirmation process while balancing a never-ending list of demands. she's been a constant source of support and as always an indisputable and fearless leader. sharon, i'm immensely grateful to you for being at the helm of my leadership office. my deputy chief, don stewart. stew, as we like to call him, always knows exactly what to say or not to say, as the case may be. he's been a critical member of the team in showing the way forward
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and helping convey our efforts to the american people. stew, thank you for discerning advice and good humor as well. my policy director, hazen marshal, balancing numerous legislative items making it look effortless along the way. thank you for driving the train forward on so many different issues. and my counsel, john a bay. where do i begin. john has been an inavailable member of -- invaluable member of my time in bringing judge gorsuch over the finish line. he put in countless hours and never stopped working. even in the most trying of times, john, literally this moment would not have been possible without you. i know there are many others who i wasn't able to name right now, but i want them to know that we recognize your efforts and we're immeasurably grateful for the work you do.
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i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: john abay. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. barrasso: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. % i ask that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: i understand that there are two bills at the desk due for a second reading en bloc. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill for the second time, en bloc. the clerk: s. 86 is a bill to
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provider the compensation of federal employees affected by lapses in appropriations. h.r. 1301, an act making appropriations for the department of defense for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2017, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: in order place the billings on -- mr. barrasso: in order to place the bills on the calendar under th rule 14, i would objeco thproceeding. the presiding officer: the bills basketball placed on the calendar. mr. barrasso: notwithstanding the upcoming recess of the senate, the majority leader be appointed to make in order by law by concurrence action of the two houses or by order senate and that they be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until and then convene for a pro forma sessions only
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with no business be conducted on the following dates and times following each pro forma sessions. the senate adjourn until the next pro forma session monday, april 10, at 1:30 p.m. thursday, april 13, at 8:30 a.m., monday, april 17, at 4:30 p.m., thursday, april 20, at 7:20 p.m. i ask when the senate adjourns on thursday, april 20, it next convenes at 3:00 p.m. monday, april 24. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morgue morning business shall closesment following leader remarks, the senate resume executive session as under the previous order. the presiding officer: is there appear objection? without objection. mr. barrasso: if there is to further business to come before the senate, i ask this it stand adjourned until under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until monday, april 10, at 1:30.. mccm
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president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: last evening the vice president notified me of the president's decision to of the president's decision to last eveninth


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