Sen. Lankford praises SCOTUS pick

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford today released a video statement on President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.

Lankford said,  “[Gorsuch] is a solid individual that has been very adamant and very outspoken about issues like privacy rights for all Americans, religious liberties, and the ability to speak out on issues that are important.”

Excerpts follow:

I was tracking a lot of the individuals that were moving through the process that the President had narrowed down the list. Neil Gorsuch was my selection that I thought, ‘That would be one of the best candidates.’ Not only because he has represented Oklahoma already on the 10th Circuit Court, just because of his judicial opinions.

He’s also been passionate about an issue that I’m passionate about as well, and that’s regulatory overreach and the role of the government—what is the job of the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, and Judicial Branch. He had a major decision that he put out about a year a and a half ago, dealing with something called Chevron deference, that is: how much power does the Executive Branch have—can they be their own judiciary, can they legislate, and can they also execute it. His statement is ‘no,’ and the Constitutional Framers would say ‘no’ also.

Rep. James Lankford outside the US Supreme Court

Judge Gorsuch has been an originalist. He’s been someone who has spoken out often to say, ‘what does the Constitution mean when it was written’, and he’s been very outspoken to say ‘every judge should have some decisions that they don’t personally like, but it’s not their personal decision. It’s what does the law say.’

In 2006, when Judge Gorsuch was put on the 10th Circuit, he passed the Senate with a unanimous, what’s called a, ‘voice-vote.’ In other words, no one opposed him.

At the time, Hillary Clinton voted for him. Barack Obama, when he was Senator, voted for him. Chuck Schumer voted for him. There are a lot of individuals here in the Senate that voted for him. Also Joe Biden included, which voted for Judge Gorsuch when he went on the 10th Circuit.

I’ve had some folks say to me, ‘what about Merrick Garland last year.’ Well, it’s an interesting journey that we’ve walked through before, but let me just mention it again. It has been the tradition of the Senate to not advance any Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year.  …Chuck Schumer agreed to that during the Bush administration in his final year. Joe Biden agreed to that when he was in the Senate, as well. It is not just a Republican issue, it’s a Republican and Democrat issue.

This is a time for all of us, as Hillary Clinton said, to stand together. This is a moment for us to be able to work together and say ‘what are we going to do to unite the country, not only in tone, but also where take the next step.’

I’m looking forward to the hearing process and learning more about Neil Gorsuch and walking through this process that is so exceptionally important to Americans, that it became the prime issue in the presidential election, ‘where are we going with the Supreme Court.’ Now we know. Americans have made their choice.

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