WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to be confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, President Trump announced that he is nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States.
As someone who has been following the news and rumors on who the pick will be, I have been looking into potential nominees for weeks and I was pleased to see Judge Gorsuch on the list and I am in support of his nomination.
After the untimely death of Justice Scalia almost a year ago, it was clear that the presidential election would be about the direction of Supreme Court for the next generation. With the results of the election—a Republican President and Congress—the American people have entrusted us with confirming a justice that will adhere to the rule of law and will not try read between the lines when interpreting legislation or the Constitution.
With the selection of Judge Gorsuch, I believe President Trump has picked such a justice.
The President might not know or remember, but President George W. Bush nominated Judge Gorsuch to his current position and the Senate confirmed him by voice vote.
There is no question that Judge Gorsuch is qualified for the Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University. He clerked for Judge Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He has been in private practice. And he has been principal deputy to Associate Attorney General and Acting Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Much like the justice he is nominated to replace, Judge Gorsuch has become known for his writing style. One of his former law clerks said that his “favorite aspect of the judge’s writing is his ability to humanize disputes.”
It appears that Gorsuch has more in common with the late Justice Scalia than just writing abilities, as he has said that “assiduous focus on text, structure and history is essential to the proper exercise of the judicial function.”
That judicial philosophy has been born out in his record on the 10th Circuit. My home state of Oklahoma is within the 10th Circuit’s jurisdiction, so we know Judge Gorsuch and he’s well respected by all. Oklahoma is the home of Hobby Lobby, started by the Green family. The Greens are good friends of mine, and I remember when they were running their business out of their home. With a $600 loan, David and Barbara began making miniature picture frames. Today, Hobby Lobby is the largest privately owned arts-and-crafts store in the world with over 700 stores in all but 3 states.
The Greens are people of faith and when they were facing fines under Obamacare for not providing certain insurance coverage that violated their faith, they were faced with an impossible choice. In siding with Hobby Lobby against the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, Judge Gorsuch stressed the point that it is not for a court to decide whether the owners’ religious convictions are correct or consistent, but instead the court’s role is “only to protect the exercise of faith.”
The Supreme Court agreed.
Again, Judge Gorsuch defended the Little Sisters of the Poor’s religious beliefs in his dissent of the 10th Circuit’s refusal to rehear their case against the Obama administration regarding the same mandate Hobby Lobby was contesting. Time and again, Judge Gorsuch has defended religious expressions in public space.
In addition to defending the First Amendment’s protection regarding the free exercise of religion, he is also a skeptical of the idea that agencies should be given wide latitude when interpreting statutory language. In a recent opinion, Judge Gorsuch suggested that the precedent of the judiciary to give deference to agencies on statutory interpretations limits the courts when reviewing the legality of agency actions.
Gorsuch believes it is for Congress to write the laws, the executive to carry them out and the judiciary to interpret them. Just as our founders intended.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to move Judge Gorsuch’s nomination forward.