Neil Gorsuch

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Neil Gorsuch
Judge Gorsuch official portrait.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Assumed office
April 10, 2017
Nominated by Donald Trump
Preceded by Antonin Scalia
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
In office
August 8, 2006 – April 10, 2017
Nominated by George W. Bush
Preceded by David M. Ebel
Succeeded by Vacant
Personal details
Born Neil McGill Gorsuch
August 29, 1967 (age 49)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Louise Gorsuch
Relations Anne Gorsuch Burford (mother)
Children 2, including Emma and Bindi
Education Columbia University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)
University College, Oxford(DPhil)

Neil McGill Gorsuch (/ˈɡɔːrsʌ/, with equal emphasis on both syllables;[1] born August 29, 1967)[2] is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.[3] President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch to succeed Antonin Scalia.[4] Gorsuch is a proponent of textualism in statutory interpretation, originalism in interpreting the U.S. Constitution, and is an advocate of natural law philosophy.[5][6][7][8]

Gorsuch clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1991 to 1992, and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, from 1993 to 1994. From 1995 to 2005, Gorsuch was in private practice with the law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Gorsuch was a Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to his appointment to the Tenth Circuit. Gorsuch was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to replace Judge David M. Ebel, who took senior status in 2006.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University, Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, and Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University College, Oxford.[9][10]

Early life

Gorsuch is the son of David Gorsuch and Anne Gorsuch Burford (née Anne Irene McGill; 1942–2004), a Colorado statehouse representative, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the first female Administrator of United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1981.[11][12][13] A fourth-generation Coloradan,[14] Gorsuch was born in Denver, Colorado, where he attended Christ the King, a K-12 Catholic school,[13] and later graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit school in North Bethesda, Maryland, in 1985.[15][16][13][17]

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Columbia University in 1988, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.[2][11][18] He was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.[19] As an undergraduate student, he wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper.[20][21] In 1986, he co-founded the alternative Columbia student newspaper The Fed.[22]

Gorsuch attended Harvard Law School where he graduated cum laude in 1991 with a Juris Doctor.[2][11] He received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship to attend.[23] While at Harvard, Gorsuch was an editor on the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.[24] He was described as a committed conservative who supported the Gulf War and congressional term limits, on “a campus full of ardent liberals”.[25] Former President Barack Obama was one of Gorsuch’s classmates at Harvard Law.[26][27][28]

He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in law (legal philosophy) from University College, Oxford in 2004 for research on assisted suicide and euthanasia.[9][2][11] He attended Oxford as a Marshall Scholar and was supervised by acclaimed natural law philosopher John Finnis.[9][6][10] While there, Gorsuch met and married his wife Louise, an Englishwoman and champion equestrienne on Oxford’s riding team.[13]

Career

Clerkships

Gorsuch served as a judicial clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1991 to 1992, and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy from 1993–94.[24][2][29]

Private law practice

Instead of joining an established law firm, Gorsuch decided to join the two-year-old boutique firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Eschewing appellate briefs, he focused on trial work.[13] After winning his first trial as lead attorney, a jury member told Gorsuch he was like Perry Mason.[13] He was an associate in the Washington, D.C., law firm from 1995–97 and a partner from 1998 to 2005.[2][30] Gorsuch’s clients included Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz.[31]

In 2002, Gorsuch penned an op-ed criticizing the Senate for delaying the nominations of Merrick Garland and John Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, writing that “the most impressive judicial nominees are grossly mistreated” by the Senate.[32][33]

In 2005, at Kellogg Huber, Gorsuch wrote a brief denouncing class action lawsuits by shareholders. In the case of Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo, Gorsuch opined that “The free ride to fast riches enjoyed by securities class action attorneys in recent years appeared to hit a speed bump” and that “the problem is that securities fraud litigation imposes an enormous toll on the economy, affecting virtually every public corporation in America at one time or another and costing businesses billions of dollars in settlements every year”.[30]

U.S. Department of Justice

Gorsuch served as Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, Robert McCallum, at the United States Department of Justice from 2005 until 2006.[24][2] During his time at the United States Department of Justice Civil Division, Gorsuch was tasked with all the “terror litigation” arising from the President’s War on Terror, successfully defending the extraordinary rendition of Khalid El-Masri, fighting the disclosure of Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse photographs, and, in November 2005, traveling to inspect the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[34] Gorsuch helped Attorney General Alberto Gonzales prepare for hearings after the public revelation of NSA warrantless surveillance (2001–07), and worked with Senator Lindsey Graham in drafting the provisions in the Detainee Treatment Act which attempted to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over the detainees.[35]

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

In January 2006, Philip Anschutz recommended Gorsuch’s nomination to Colorado’s U.S. Senator Wayne Allard and White House Counsel Harriet Miers.[31] On May 10, 2006, Gorsuch was nominated by President George W. Bush to the seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit vacated by Judge David M. Ebel, who was taking senior status.[11] Like Gorsuch, Ebel was a former clerk of Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. The American Bar Association‘s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously rated him “well qualified” in 2006.[36][37]

Just over two months later, on July 20, 2006, Gorsuch was confirmed by unanimous voice vote in the U.S. Senate.[38][39] Gorsuch was President Bush’s fifth appointment to the Tenth Circuit.[40]

When Gorsuch began his tenure at Denver’s Byron White United States Courthouse, Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the oath of office.[32]

Since taking office, Gorsuch has sent ten of his law clerks on to become Supreme Court clerks, and he is sometimes regarded as a “feeder judge“.[41]

During his time on the Circuit Court, since 2008, Gorsuch has been a Thomson Visiting Professor at the University of Colorado Law School, teaching one course per semester, either ethics or antitrust law.[42][43]

Freedom of religion

Gorsuch advocates a broad definition of religious freedom. In Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius (2013) Gorsuch wrote a concurrence when the en banc circuit found the Affordable Care Act‘s contraceptive mandate on a private business violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.[44] That ruling was upheld 5–4 by the Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014).[45] When a panel of the court denied similar claims under the same act in Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell (2015), Gorsuch joined Judges Harris Hartz, Paul Joseph Kelly Jr., Timothy Tymkovich, and Jerome Holmes in their dissent to the denial of rehearing en banc.[46] That ruling was vacated and remanded to the Tenth Circuit by the per curium Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell (2016).[45]

In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2007), he joined Judge Michael W. McConnell‘s dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc, taking the view that the government’s display of a donated Ten Commandments monument in a public park did not obligate the government to display other offered monuments.[47] Most of the dissent’s view was subsequently adopted by the Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment of the Tenth Circuit.[45]

Gorsuch has written that “the law […] doesn’t just apply to protect popular religious beliefs: it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs, vindicating this nation’s long-held aspiration to serve as a refuge of religious tolerance”.[48]

Administrative law

Gorsuch has called for reconsideration of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984), in which the Supreme Court instructed courts to grant deference to federal agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws and regulations. In Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016), Gorsuch wrote for a unanimous panel finding that court review was required before an executive agency could reject the circuit court’s interpretation of an immigration law.[49][50]

Alone, Gorsuch added a concurring opinion, criticizing Chevron deference and National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Services (2005) as an “abdication of judicial duty”, writing that deference is “more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution of the framers’ design”.[51][52]

In United States v. Hinckley (2008), Gorsuch argued that one possible reading of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act likely violates the nondelegation doctrine.[53]Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg held the same view in their 2012 dissent of Reynolds v. United States.[54]

Interstate commerce

Gorsuch has been an opponent of the dormant Commerce Clause, which allows state laws to be declared unconstitutional if they too greatly burden interstate commerce. In 2011, Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel finding that the dormant Commerce Clause did not prevent the Oklahoma Water Resources Board from blocking water exports to Texas.[55] That ruling was affirmed by a unanimous Supreme Court in Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann (2013).[56]

In 2013, Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel finding that federal courts could not hear a challenge to Colorado’s internet sales tax.[57] That ruling was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court in Direct Marketing Ass’n v. Brohl (2015).[56] In 2016, the Tenth Circuit panel rejected the challenger’s dormant commerce clause claim, with Gorsuch writing a concurrence.[58]

In Energy and Environmental Legal Institute v. Joshua Epel (2015), Gorsuch held that Colorado’s mandates for renewable energy did not violate the commerce clause by putting out-of-state coal companies at a disadvantage.[59] Gorsuch wrote that the Colorado renewable energy law “isn’t a price-control statute, it doesn’t link prices paid in Colorado with those paid out of state, and it does not discriminate against out-of-staters”.[60][61]

Campaign finance

In Riddle v. Hickenlooper (2014), Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel of the Tenth Circuit in finding that it was unconstitutional for a Colorado law to set the limit on donations for write-in candidates at half the amount for major party candidates.[62] Gorsuch added a concurrence where he noted that although the standard of review of campaign finance in the United States is unclear, the Colorado law would fail even under intermediate scrutiny.[63]

Civil rights

In Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert (2016), Gorsuch wrote for the four dissenting judges when the Tenth Circuit denied a rehearing en banc of a divided panel opinion that had ordered the Utah Governor to resume the organization’s funding, which Herbert had blocked in response to a video controversy.[64][65]

In A.M., on behalf of her minor child, F.M. v. Ann Holmes (2016), the Tenth Circuit considered a case in which a 13-year-old child was arrested for burping and laughing in gym class. The child was handcuffed and arrested based on a New Mexico statute that makes it a misdemeanor to disrupt school activities. The child’s family brought a federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (civil rights) action against school officials and the school resource officer who made the arrest, arguing that it was a false arrest that violated the child’s constitutional rights. In a 94-page majority opinion, the Tenth Circuit held that the defendants enjoyed qualified immunity from suit.

Gorsuch wrote a four-page dissent, arguing that the New Mexico Court of Appeals had “long ago alerted law enforcement” that the statute that the officer relied upon for the child’s arrest does not criminalize noises or diversions that merely disturb order in a classroom.[66][67][68]

Criminal law

In 2009, Gorsuch wrote for a unanimous panel finding that a court may still order criminals to pay restitution even after it missed a statutory deadline.[69] That ruling was affirmed 5–4 by the Supreme Court in Dolan v. United States (2010).[56]

In United States of America v. Miguel Games-Perez (2012), Gorsuch ruled on a case where a felon owned a gun in a jurisdiction where gun ownership by felons is illegal; however, the felon did not know that he was a felon at the time. Gorsuch concurred with the opinion that “The only statutory element separating innocent (even constitutionally protected) gun possession from criminal conduct in §§ 922(g) and 924(a) is a prior felony conviction. So the presumption that the government must prove mens rea here applies with full force.”[70]

In 2013, Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel finding that intent does not need to be proven under a bank fraud statute.[71] That ruling was affirmed by a Supreme Court unanimous in judgment in Loughrin v. United States (2014).[56]

In 2015, Gorsuch wrote a dissent to the denial of rehearing en banc when the Tenth Circuit found that a convicted sex offender had to register with Kansas after he moved to the Philippines.[72] The Tenth Circuit was then reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court in Nichols v. United States (2016).[56]

Death penalty

Gorsuch favors a strict reading of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.[45] In 2015, he wrote for the court when it permitted Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to order the execution of Scott Eizember, prompting a thirty-page dissent by Judge Mary Beck Briscoe.[73][74] After Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett, Gorsuch joined Briscoe when the court unanimously allowed Attorney General Pruitt to continue using the same lethal injection protocol. That ruling was upheld 5–4 by the Supreme Court in Glossip v. Gross (2015).[75]

List of judicial opinions

During his tenure on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Judge Gorsuch has authored 212 published opinions.[76] Some of those are the following opinions:

Nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

Do you support Gorsuch Confirmation

45% Yes

55% No

Do you support the filibuster Gorsuch ( CNN, TYT)

35, 85 % = 60 % Yes

57, 15 % = 38 % No

8 = 4%

 

After his nomination on January 31, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017.[2] Gorsuch, age 49, is the youngest sitting Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas.[3] In February 2016, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States died, leaving a vacancy on the highest federal court in the United States. Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to nominate justices to the Supreme Court, subject to the “advice and consent” of the United States Senate.[4] Scalia’s seat remained open until the beginning of the Trump administration in January 2017, as the Senate did not consider outgoing President Barack Obama‘s nomination of Merrick Garland, advising that the vacancy should be filled by the newly elected president, either Trump or Hillary Clinton.

On January 31, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the vacant position of Associate Justice, and the nomination was transmitted to the Senate on the following day. After hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the nomination was sent to full Senate on April 4, 2017. When nominated, Gorsuch was an active judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to which he had been appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate without opposition. Democrats filibustered the confirmation vote, after which Republicans invoked the “nuclear option“, removing the option to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.[5] On April 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court with a bipartisan 54–45 vote, with three Democrats joining all the Republicans in attendance. Gorsuch took office in a private ceremony on April 10.

Background[edit]

Death of Justice Antonin Scalia[edit]

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated then D.C. Circuit Judge Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court to fill the associate justice vacancy caused by the retirement of Chief JusticeBurger and the appointment as Chief Justice of then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and became a part of the court’s conservative bloc, often supporting originalist and textualist positions.[7]

On February 13, 2016, Justice Scalia was found dead on a Texas ranch.[8][9] Scalia’s death marked only the second time in sixty years that a Supreme Court justice had died in office, the other being Chief Justice Rehnquist in 2005.[10] Scalia’s death was the seventh occasion since 1900 in which a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States was vacant during a year in which a presidential election was set to occur.[11]

One hour after Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would not consider any replacement nominated by President Barack Obama.[12]

Nomination of Judge Merrick Garland[edit]

When Scalia died, President Barack Obama was a member of the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party held a 54–46 seat majority in the Senate.[13] Because of the composition of the Supreme Court at the time of Scalia’s death, and the belief that President Obama could replace Scalia with a much more liberal successor, some believed that an Obama appointee could potentially swing the Court in a liberal direction for many years to come, with potentially far-reaching political consequences.[14] President Obama ultimately nominated Merrick Garland on March 16, 2016. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider Garland’s nomination for 293 days, until it expired when the 114th Congress adjourned in January 2017.[15] The defeat of Garland’s nomination left Scalia’s seat vacant when President Trump took office in January 2017. Many Democrats reacted angrily to the Senate’s refusal to consider Garland, with Senator Jeff Merkley (Democrat from Oregon) describing the vacant seat as a “stolen seat.”[16] However, Republicans such as Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley argued that the Senate was within its rights to refuse to consider a nominee until the inauguration of a new president.[17]

Nomination[edit]

Candidates[edit]

During the 2016 presidential campaign, while Garland remained before the Senate, Trump released two lists of potential nominees. On May 18, 2016, Trump released a short list of eleven judges for nomination to the Scalia vacancy.[18]

In September 2016, Trump released a second list of ten possible nominees, this time including three minorities.[19] Both lists were assembled by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.[20] Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society played a major role in the creation of the second list, which included Gorsuch.[21] After winning the presidential election, Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn interviewed four individuals for the Supreme Court opening, all of whom had appeared on one of the two previously-released lists.[20] The four individuals were federal appellate judges Thomas Hardiman, William H. Pryor Jr., and Neil Gorsuch, as well as federal district judge Amul Thapar.[20] All four had been appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush. While Pryor had been seen by many as the early front-runner due to the backing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, many evangelicals expressed resistance to him, and the final decision ultimately came down to Gorsuch or Hardiman.[20] Hardiman had the support of Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry,[20] but Trump instead chose to nominate Gorsuch.[22]

Announcement[edit]

President Trump announced the nomination of Gorsuch on January 31, 2017. The nomination was formally transmitted to the Senate on February 1, 2017.[23] His nomination is now pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At age 49, Gorsuch would be the youngest sitting Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas. Having clerked for Anthony Kennedy, Gorsuch would also be the first Supreme Court Justice to have previously clerked for a Justice still sitting on the court.[24]

In July 2006, Gorsuch’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit had been confirmed in the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.[25] At the time of his nomination to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch was described as solidly conservative, but likely to be confirmed without much difficulty.[26][27][28] Richard Primus of Politico described Gorsuch as “Scalia 2.0” due to ideological similarities,[29] and a report prepared by Lee Epstein, Andrew Martin, and Kevin Quinn predicted that Gorsuch would be a “reliable conservative” similar to Scalia.[30]

Senate consideration[edit]

Committee[edit]

Gorsuch’s nomination was first considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds hearings on all federal judicial nominations and decides whether or not to send nominations to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.[31] The committee consists of 11 Republican Senators and 9 Democratic Senators, and is chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley (R-IA). In February 2017, the committee requested the Justice Department to send all documents they had regarding Gorsuch’s work in the George W. Bush administration. As of March 9, 2017, the Justice Department had turned over more than 144,000 pages of documents and, according to a White House spokesman, more than 220,000 pages of documents in total had been sent to the committee.[32] Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings started on March 20, 2017, and lasted four days.[33][34] On April 3, the Judiciary Committee approved Gorsuch by in an 11–9 in a party-line vote.[35][36]

Confirmation hearings[edit]

Judge Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 20, 2017.

On the first day of hearings, Senators largely used their opening statements to criticize each other, with Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) complaining of the “unprecedented treatment” of Judge Merrick Garland, while Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) felt “two wrongs don’t make a right”, and Senator Ted Cruz insisted President Trump’s nomination now carried “super-legitimacy”.[37]

Democratic Senators repeatedly criticized Gorsuch for a case where the Tenth Circuit ruled in favor of a truck driver who had abandoned his trailer in inclement conditions, with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) telling Gorsuch the weather was “not as cold as your dissent”.[37] In his own 16-minute opening statement, Gorsuch repeated his belief that a judge who likes all his rulings is “probably a pretty bad judge”, and noted that his large record included many examples where he ruled both for and against disadvantaged groups.[37]

On the second day of hearings Gorsuch responded to questions by committee members. When Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Gorsuch if he would “have any trouble ruling against the president who appointed you”, Gorsuch replied, no, and “that’s a softball”.[38] Senator Cruz used his time to ask Gorsuch about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, basketball, and mutton busting.[38] When asked by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) how he would have reacted if during his interview at Trump Tower the President had asked him to vote against Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch replied “I would have walked out the door”.[38]

Democratic Senators continued to criticize Gorsuch on his dissent in the case involving a truck driver, with Ranking Member Feinstein asking him “will you be for the little men” and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) telling the judge his position was “absurd”, going on to say “I had a career in identifying absurdity” (in reference to his former career as a comedian).[38]Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) used his time to praise Judge Garland, criticize those policies of President George W. Bush that Gorsuch had defended at the Justice Department, and to ask Gorsuch how he would rule in Washington v. Trump. He refused to comment on active litigation, explained that Justice Department lawyers must defend their client, but did say that Garland is “an outstanding judge” and that Gorsuch always reads his opinions with “special care”.[38]

On the third day of hearings Gorsuch continued to answer questions by committee members. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) asked Gorsuch if “you think your writings reflect a knee-jerk attitude against common-sense regulations”, to which the judge replied “no”.[39] In response to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)’s question of if the judge would be subject to agency capture by big business, Gorsuch replied “nobody will capture me”.[40] Franken laughed out loud after Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked Gorsuch if he had ever served on a jury; Gorsuch said he had. Flake then asked Gorsuch if he would rather fight “100 duck-sized horses or one horse-size duck”, to which Gorsuch avoided giving a firm answer.[39]

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) told Gorsuch he employed only “selective originalism”.[clarification needed][40] He replied to a question by Ranking Member Feinstein on the Equal Protection Clause by saying, “no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days” and that “it matters not a whit that some of the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment were racists. Because they were. Or sexists, because they were. The law they drafted promises equal protection of the laws to all persons. That’s what they wrote.”[40]

During Wednesday’s hearings, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Tenth Circuit in an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act case Gorsuch had not been involved in, although in 2008 he had written for a unanimous panel applying the same circuit precedent.[40] Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said this demonstrated “a continued, troubling pattern of Judge Gorsuch deciding against everyday Americans – even children who require special assistance at school”.[40]

[hide]Confirmation Hearing Witnesses for Neil Gorsuch
Date Witnesses Role Notes
March 20 Michael Bennet, Senator (D-CO) Introducer, home state senator Testimony.[a]
Cory Gardner, Senator (R-CO) Introducer, home state senator Testimony.[b]
Neal Katyal, Former Acting Solicitor General (May 2010-June 2011) Introducer Testimony.[c]
Neil Gorsuch Nominee Testimony.[d]
March 21
March 22
March 23 Nancy Scott Degan, Chair, American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary Congressional witness Testimony.[e]
Shannon Edwards, Member, American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary Congressional witness
Deanell Reece Tacha, Pepperdine University School of Law Duane And Kelly Roberts Dean And Professor Of Law, U.S. Court Of Appeals Judge (Retired) Republican witness Testimony.[f]
Robert Harlan Henry, President of Oklahoma City University, U.S. Court Of Appeals Judge (Retired) Republican witness
John L. Kane Jr., United States federal judge, United States District Court for the District of Colorado Republican witness
Leah Bressack, former law clerk Republican witness Testimony.[g]
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First Democratic witness Testimony.[h]
Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director, Columbia University/Knight First Amendment Institute Democratic witness Testimony.[i]
Jeff Perkins Democratic witness Testimony.[j]
Guerino J. Calemine, III, General Counsel, Communication Workers of America Democratic witness Testimony.[k]
Jeff Lamken, Partner, MoloLamken Republican witness Testimony.[l]
Lawrence Solum, Carmack Waterhouse Professor Of Law, Georgetown University Law Center Republican witness Testimony.[m]
Jonathan Turley, J.B. And Maurice C. Shapiro Professor Of Public Interest Law, The George Washington University Law School Republican witness Testimony.[n]
Karen Harned, Executive Director, National Federation Of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center Republican witness Testimony.[o]
Heather McGhee, President, Demos Democratic witness Testimony.[p]
Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President For Program & President-Elect, National Women’s Law Center Democratic witness Testimony.[q]
Patrick Gallagher, Director, Sierra Club Environmental Law Program Democratic witness Testimony.[r]
Eve Hill, Partner, Brown Goldstein Levy Democratic witness Testimony.[s]
Peter Kirsanow, Commissioner, U.S. Commission On Civil Rights; Partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff Republican witness Testimony.[t]
Alice Fisher, Partner, Latham & Watkins Republican witness Testimony.[u]
Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel, Becket Fund Republican witness Testimony.[v]
Timothy Meyer, former law clerk Republican witness Testimony.[w]
Jamil N. Jaffer, former law clerk Republican witness Testimony.[x]
Kristen Clarke, President & CEO, Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights Under Law Democratic witness Testimony.[y]
Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director, Human Rights Campaign Democratic witness Testimony.[z]
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President, CEO, & Founder, Whole Woman’s Health Democratic witness Testimony.[aa]
William Marshall, William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor Of Law, University Of North Carolina Democratic witness Testimony.[ab]
Sandy Phillips Democratic witness Testimony.[ac]

Full Senate[edit]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Gorsuch needed to win a simple majority vote of the full Senate to be confirmed, but the opposition could prevent a vote through a filibuster, which required a 60-vote super-majority to be defeated. At the time of the Gorsuch nomination, Republicans held 52 seats in the 100-seat chamber, as well as the potential tie-breaking vote in Vice President Pence.[41] After nominating Gorsuch, President Trump called on the Senate to use the “nuclear option” and abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments if its continued existence would prevent Gorsuch’s confirmation.[42](The nuclear option was used in 2013 to abolish filibusters for all presidential appointments except nominations to the Supreme Court.)

While some Republican Senators such as John McCain (R-AZ) expressed reluctance about abolishing the filibuster for executive appointments, others such as John Cornyn (R-TX) argued that the GOP majority should reserve all options necessary to confirm Gorsuch.[41] Other political commentators have proposed that GOP Senate leadership adopt a strategic use of Standing Rule XIX to avoid the elimination of the filibuster.[43][44]

During the last day of committee hearings, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced from the Senate floor that he would filibuster the nomination.[45] Democratic opposition focused on complaints saying that Scalia’s seat should have been filled by President Obama.[46][47] In addition, Democratic Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (D/I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) criticized aspects of Gorsuch’s record. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said he would do “anything in his power”—including the power of filibustering—to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.[48] Other Democratic Senators including Joe Manchin (D-WV),[49] Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND),[50] and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) support Gorsuch.[51]

Nuclear option[edit]

On April 6, 2017, Democrats filibustered (prevented cloture of) the confirmation vote of Gorsuch. The Senate Republicans invoked the so-called “nuclear option” and changed the Senate rules to end fillibusters for Supreme Court nominees. After the change to Senate rules the Senate in a bipartisan vote (Senate Republicans along with Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO)) agreed to cloture. After the change, Gorsuch was confirmed on April 7.[52][53]

Confirmation vote[edit]

File:President Trump Attends the Swearing-In Ceremony of the Honorable Neil Gorsuch.webm

The swearing-in ceremony of Gorsuch on 10 April 2017, attended by President Donald Trump and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The Senate confirmed Gorsuch on April 7, 2017, by a bipartisan vote of 54–45. All Senate Republicans present, along with Democratic Senators in states that voted heavily for Trump, Manchin (D-WV), Heitkamp (D-ND), and Donnelly (D-IN), voted to confirm Gorsuch.[54] Republican Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson was absent for the vote because he was recovering from back surgery.[55]

State Senator Party Vote
Tennessee Lamar Alexander R Yea
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin D Nay
Wyoming John Barrasso R Yea
Colorado Michael Bennet D Nay
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal D Nay
Missouri Roy Blunt R Yea
New Jersey Cory Booker D Nay
Arkansas John Boozman R Yea
Ohio Sherrod Brown D Nay
North Carolina Richard Burr R Yea
Washington Maria Cantwell D Nay
West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito R Yea
Maryland Ben Cardin D Nay
Delaware Tom Carper D Nay
Pennsylvania Bob Casey D Nay
Louisiana Bill Cassidy R Yea
Mississippi Thad Cochran R Yea
Maine Susan Collins R Yea
Delaware Chris Coons D Nay
Tennessee Bob Corker R Yea
Texas John Cornyn R Yea
Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto D Nay
Arkansas Tom Cotton R Yea
Idaho Mike Crapo R Yea
Texas Ted Cruz R Yea
Montana Steve Daines R Yea
Indiana Joe Donnelly D Yea
Illinois Tammy Duckworth D Nay
Illinois Dick Durbin D Nay
Wyoming Mike Enzi R Yea
Iowa Joni Ernst R Yea
California Dianne Feinstein D Nay
Nebraska Deb Fischer R Yea
Arizona Jeff Flake R Yea
Minnesota Al Franken D Nay
Colorado Cory Gardner R Yea
New York Kirsten Gillibrand D Nay
South Carolina Lindsey Graham R Yea
Iowa Chuck Grassley R Yea
California Kamala Harris D Nay
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan D Nay
Utah Orrin Hatch R Yea
New Mexico Martin Heinrich D Nay
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp D Yea
Nevada Dean Heller R Yea
Hawaii Mazie Hirono D Nay
North Dakota John Hoeven R Yea
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe R Yea
Georgia Johnny Isakson R Not Voting
Wisconsin Ron Johnson R Yea
Virginia Tim Kaine D Nay
Louisiana John Neely Kennedy R Yea
Maine Angus King Ind. Nay
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar D Nay
Oklahoma James Lankford R Yea
Vermont Patrick Leahy D Nay
Utah Mike Lee R Yea
West Virginia Joe Manchin D Yea
Massachusetts Ed Markey D Nay
Arizona John McCain R Yea
Missouri Claire McCaskill D Nay
Kentucky Mitch McConnell R Yea
New Jersey Bob Menendez D Nay
Oregon Jeff Merkley D Nay
Kansas Jerry Moran R Yea
Alaska Lisa Murkowski R Yea
Connecticut Chris Murphy D Nay
Washington Patty Murray D Nay
Florida Bill Nelson D Nay
Kentucky Rand Paul R Yea
Georgia David Perdue R Yea
Michigan Gary Peters D Nay
Ohio Rob Portman R Yea
Rhode Island Jack Reed D Nay
Idaho Jim Risch R Yea
Kansas Pat Roberts R Yea
South Dakota Mike Rounds R Yea
Florida Marco Rubio R Yea
Vermont Bernie Sanders Ind. Nay
Nebraska Ben Sasse R Yea
Hawaii Brian Schatz D Nay
New York Chuck Schumer D Nay
South Carolina Tim Scott R Yea
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen D Nay
Alabama Richard Shelby R Yea
Michigan Debbie Stabenow D Nay
Alabama Luther Strange R Yea
Alaska Dan Sullivan R Yea
Montana Jon Tester D Nay
South Dakota John Thune R Yea
North Carolina Thom Tillis R Yea
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey R Yea
New Mexico Tom Udall D Nay
Maryland Chris Van Hollen D Nay
Virginia Mark Warner D Nay
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren D Nay
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse D Nay
Mississippi Roger Wicker R Yea
Oregon Ron Wyden D Nay
Indiana Todd Young R Yea
vote by party[56] D
R
Ind.
3–43
51–0
0–2

Responses from organizations and notable persons[edit]

Protests at the U.S. Supreme Court occurred following Gorsuch’s nomination.

Norm Eisen, who was named by Obama to be Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform in the White House and Ambassador to the Czech Republic, has endorsed Gorsuch.[57] Eisen was a classmate of both Gorsuch and Obama at Harvard Law.[57] Neal Katyal, who served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States during the Obama Administration and who is currently a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, endorsed Gorsuch for approval to the Supreme Court.[58]

The National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation and other gun rights groups endorsed Gorsuch,[59][60][61] while Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other gun control proponents have opposed his nomination.[62][63] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed Gorsuch “comes down on the side of felons over gun safety”. Politifact called her statement misleading and said that Gorsuch’s past rulings do not “demonstrate that he thinks more felons should be allowed guns than what is already permitted under the law”.[64]

The American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns about Gorsuch’s respect for disability rights.[65] The Secular Coalition for America, Freedom from Religion Foundation and Union for Reform Judaism all voiced concerns with Gorsuch’s nomination.[66]

On April 4, 2017, Politico reported that Rebecca Moore Howard, a Syracuse University professor, accused Gorsuch of plagiarism.[67][68][69] Oxford University Emeritus Professor John Finnis, who supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation at Oxford disagreed and stated, “The allegation is entirely without foundation. The book is meticulous in its citation of primary sources. The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is, frankly, absurd.”[67] Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, the supposed victim of the plagiarism and who is Indiana‘s deputy attorney general, has supported Gorsuch by saying, “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the ‘Baby/Infant Doe‘ case that occurred in 1982.”[67][68]

Legal philosophy

Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as perceived at the time of enactment, and of textualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted literally, without considering the legislative history and underlying purpose of the law.[5][6][7] An editorial in the National Catholic Register opined that Gorsuch’s judicial decisions lean more toward the natural law philosophy.[90]

Judicial activism

In a 2005 speech at Case Western Reserve University, Gorsuch said that judges should strive

to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be—not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.[91]

In a 2005 article published by National Review, Gorsuch argued that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” and that they are “failing to reach out and persuade the public”. Gorsuch wrote that, in doing so, American liberals are circumventing the democratic process on issues like gay marriage, school vouchers, and assisted suicide, and this has led to a compromised judiciary, which is no longer independent. Gorsuch wrote that American liberals’ “overweening addiction” to using the courts for social debate is “bad for the nation and bad for the judiciary”.[92][38]

States’ rights and federalism

Gorsuch was described by Justin Marceau, a professor at the University of Denver‘s Sturm College of Law, as “a predictably socially conservative judge who tends to favor state power over federal power”. Marceau added that the issue of states’ rights is important since federal laws have been used to reel in “rogue” state laws in civil rights cases.[93]

Assisted suicide

In July 2006, Gorsuch’s book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, was published by Princeton University Press.[94][95] It was developed from his doctoral thesis.[96][9]

In the book, Gorsuch makes clear his personal opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, arguing that America should “retain existing law [banning assisted suicide and euthanasia] on the basis that human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”[95][48][97]

On April 4, 2017, Politico reported that Rebecca Moore Howard, a Syracuse University professor, accused Gorsuch of plagiarism.[98][99][100] Oxford University Emeritus Professor John Finnis, who supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation at Oxford disagreed and stated, “The allegation is entirely without foundation. The book is meticulous in its citation of primary sources. The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is, frankly, absurd.”[98] Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, the supposed victim of the plagiarism and who is Indiana‘s deputy attorney general, has supported Gorsuch by saying, “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the ‘Baby/Infant Doe’ case that occurred in 1982.”[98][99]

Personal life

Gorsuch and his wife, Louise, who is British, met at Oxford. They live in Boulder, Colorado and have two daughters, Emma and Belinda.[101][43][17]

Gorsuch has timeshare ownership of a cabin on the headwaters of the Colorado River outside Granby, Colorado with associates of Philip Anschutz.[31] He enjoys the outdoors and fly fishing and on at least one occasion went fly fishing with Justice Scalia.[14][102] He raises horses, chickens, and goats, and often arranges ski trips with colleagues and friends.[45]

He is the author of two books. His first book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, was published by Princeton University Press in July 2006.[103] He is a co-author of The Law of Judicial Precedent, published by Thomson West in 2016.[30]

Religion

Neil and his siblings, brother J.J. and sister Stephanie, were raised as Roman Catholics and attended weekly Mass. Neil Gorsuch later attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit school in North Bethesda, Maryland, from which he graduated in 1985.[15][16][13][17]

Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, is British-born and the two met while Neil was studying at Oxford. When the couple returned to the United States they started attending an Episcopal parish in Vienna, Virginia. Gorsuch currently attends St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder. If Gorsuch considers himself Protestant, his confirmation would make him the first Protestant to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court since the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.[104][4][105] Gorsuch has not publicly stated if he considers himself a Catholic who attends a Protestant church, or if he has fully converted to Protestantism, but “according to church records, the Gorsuches were members of Holy Comforter”, an Episcopal church.[106]

Awards and honors

Gorsuch is the recipient of the Edward J. Randolph Award for outstanding service to the Department of Justice, and of the Harry S. Truman Foundation’s Stevens Award for outstanding public service in the field of law.[43]

Clinton’s Short list for VP

Among the Podesta emails released today, one of the more interesting disclosures comes from a March 17 email from John Podesta tohdr29@hrcoffice.com, aka Hillary Clinton, which laid out a list of potential Vice Presidential nominees for Hillary. The list of 39 names, “organized in rough food groups,” with regard to their gender, race or career; includes some interesting names:

  • Business executives incl. Mary Barra; Michael Bloomberg; Ursula Burns; Tim Cook; Bill Gates; Melinda Gates; Muhtar Kent; Judith Rodin; Howard Schultz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders was in his own grouping; also listed military leaders, black elected and appointed officials, Latino officials, white male senators, female senators incl. Elizabeth Warren
  • Former military leaders John Allen; Bill McCraven; Mike Mullen

The full email is below:

From:john.podesta@gmail.com
To: hdr29@hrcoffice.com
Date: 2016-03-17 17:21
Subject:

 

Ok, I can breathe again! Congrats on a fabulous night.

I am feeling like it’s possible to get back to the longer term again.

 

Cheryl and I met with Jim Hamilton on Friday to discuss lawyers who can help do the research and vetting that I outlined in the VP vet memo we discussed. We also met with Marc Elias to get his input on firms that have already provided substantial volunteer lawyer assistance and to get prepared to execute non-disclosure agreements with anyone we involve in the process.

 

We put together the attached notional teams of “report writers” (confidential profiles/public record vet) and “vettors” (deep-dive/oppo-book), and want to run it by you before we execute on the list. Let me know if there are people you would like to see added  or removed before we begin the process. 

 

Cheryl, Robby, Jake, Huma, Jennifer and I also did a first cut of people to consider for VP. I have organized names in rough food groups.

 

Javier Becerra,
Julian Castro,
Eric Garcetti,
Tom Perez,
Ken Salazar,

 

Tammy Baldwin,
Kirsten Gillibrand,
Amy Klobuchar,
Claire McKaskill,
Jeanne Shaheen,
Debbie Stabenow,
Elizabeth Warren,

 

Michael Bennet,
Sherrod Brown,
Martin Heinreich,
Tim Kaine,
Terry McAuliffe,
Chris Murphy,
Tom Vilsack,

 

Steve Benjamin,
Corey Booker,
Andrew Gillum,
Eric Holder,
Deval Patrick,
Kasim Reed,
Anthony Foxx,

 

John Allen,
Bill McCraven,
Mike Mullen,

 

Mary Barra,
Michael Bloomberg,
Ursula Burns,
Tim Cook,
Bill Gates,
Melinda Gates,
Muhtar Kent,
Judith Rodin,
Howard Schultz,

 

Bernie Sanders,

Bernie Sanders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders.jpg
Sanders’s official Senate portrait
United States Senator
from Vermont
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Patrick Leahy
Preceded by Jim Jeffords
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Patty Murray
Succeeded by Johnny Isakson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont‘s At-large district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Peter Smith
Succeeded by Peter Welch
Mayor of Burlington, Vermont
In office
April 6, 1981 – April 1989
Preceded by Gordon Paquette
Succeeded by Peter Clavelle
Personal details
Born Bernard Sanders
September 8, 1941 (age 73)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Independent
Other political
affiliations
Liberty Union (1971–1979)
Vermont Progressive (affiliated)Democratic (caucusing)
Spouse(s) Deborah Shiling (1964–1966)
Jane O’Meara Driscoll (1988–present)
Children Levi (with Susan Mott)
3 stepchildren
Alma mater University of Chicago
Religion Judaism
Signature
Website Senate website
Presidential campaign website
Bernie Sanders.jpg This article is part of a series about
Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator from Vermont


U.S. Representative for Vermont’s At-large


Mayor of Burlington


Bernie Sanders signature.svg
Seal of the United States Senate.svg

BernardBernieSanders (born September 8, 1941) is the junior United States Senator from Vermont.

Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. A self-described democratic socialist,[1][2][3][4] he favors policies similar to those of social democratic parties in Europe, particularly those instituted by the Nordic countries.[5][6][7] Hecaucuses with the Democratic Party and has been the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee since January 2015.[8]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sanders attended Brooklyn College before transferring to and graduating from the University of Chicago. While a student, he was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League and active in the Civil Rights Movement as a protest organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.[9][10] In 1963, he participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Sanders settled in Vermont in 1968, and ran unsuccessfully for Governor and U.S. Senator in the early to mid-1970s as a member of the Liberty Union Party. As an independent, Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s most populous city, in 1981. He was reelected to three more two-year mayoral terms before being elected to represent Vermont’s at-large congressional district in the United States House of Representatives in 1990. He served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to succeed the retiring Republican-turned-independent Jim Jeffords in the U.S. Senate in 2006. In 2012, he was reelected by a large margin, capturing almost 71% of the popular vote.

Since his election to the Senate, Sanders has emerged as a leading progressive voice on issues such as income inequality,[2]universal healthcare, parental leave, climate change,[11] LGBT rights, and campaign finance reform.[12] He rose to national prominence on the heels of his 2010 filibuster[13][14] of the proposed extension of the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy. Sanders is also outspoken on civil rights and civil liberties, and has been particularly critical of mass surveillance policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act,[15] as well as racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. He has long been critical of U.S. foreign policy, and was an early and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War.

Sanders is a candidate for the Democratic Party‘s nomination for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[16][17][18]

Early life and education[edit]

Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York to Eli Sanders and Dorothy Glassberg.[19][20] His father was a Jewish immigrant fromPoland whose family was killed in the Holocaust,[9][19][21] while his mother was born to Jewish parents in New York City.[22][23]

Sanders has said that he became interested in politics at an early age because of his Jewish heritage:

“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”[24]

Sanders attended elementary school at P.S. 197, where he won a state championship on the basketball team. He attended Hebrew school in the afternoons and had his bar mitzvah in 1954. Sanders attended James Madison High School, where he was captain of the track team.[25] While at Madison, Sanders lost his first election, finishing last out of three for the student body presidency. Sanders’s mother died in June 1959 at the age of 46 shortly after Sanders graduated from high school.[21]

Sanders went to Brooklyn College for a year before transferring to the University of Chicago. He was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth affiliate of the Socialist Party of America.[26]

While attending the University of Chicago, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement, and a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.[9][10] One of the actions he took was the coordination of sit-inprotests against segregated campus housing, for which he was arrested.[27] Sanders also participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.[28]

In 1964, Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, married his first wife, Deborah Shiling, and bought a summer home in Vermont. Over the next few years he took various jobs in New York and Vermont and spent several months on an Israeli kibbutz. By 1968, he was living in Vermont year-round.[26]

Early political career[edit]

Liberty Union campaigns[edit]

Sanders began his political career in 1971 as a member of the Liberty Union Party, which originated in the anti-war and people’s party movement. He ran as the Liberty Union candidate for governor in 1972 and 1976 and as a candidate for senator in 1972 and 1974.[29] In the 1974 race, Sanders finished third (5,901; 4.1%) behind the victor, 33-year-old Chittenden County State’s AttorneyPatrick Leahy (D, VI; 70,629; 49.4%), and two-term incumbent U.S. Representative Dick Mallary (R; 66,223; 46.3%).[30][31] In 1979, Sanders resigned from the party and worked as a writer and the director of the nonprofit American People’s Historical Society.[32]While with the APHS, he made a 30-minute documentary about American Socialist leader and presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs.[26][33]

Mayor of Burlington[edit]

In 1981, at the suggestion of his close friend Richard Sugarman, a professor of religion at the University of Vermont, Sanders ran for mayor of Burlington and defeated six-term Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquette by 10 votes in a four-way contest.[34] Sanders won three additional terms, defeating both Democratic and Republican candidates in successive elections. In his final run for mayor in 1987, Sanders defeated Paul Lafayette, a Democrat endorsed by both major parties.[35]

During Sanders’s first term, his supporters, including the first Citizens Party City Councilor Terry Bouricius, formed the Progressive Coalition, the forerunner of the Vermont Progressive Party.[36] The Progressives never held more than six seats on the 13-member city council but had enough votes to keep the council from overriding Sanders’s vetoes. Under Sanders, Burlington became the first city in the country to fund community-trust housing.[37]

In 1985, Burlington City Hall hosted a foreign policy speech by Noam Chomsky. In his introduction, Sanders praised Chomsky as “a very vocal and important voice in the wilderness of intellectual life in America” and said he was “delighted to welcome a person who I think we’re all very proud of.”[38][39]

Sanders’s administration balanced the city budget, and drew a minor league baseball team, the Vermont Reds, to Burlington.[19] The Sanders administration also “sued the local cable franchise and won reduced rates for customers.”[19]

As mayor, Sanders “undertook ambitious downtown revitalization projects”; one of his signature achievements was the improvement of Burlington’s Lake Champlainwaterfront.[19] In 1981, Sanders campaigned against the unpopular plans by Tony Pomerleau, a Burlington developer, to convert the then-industrial[40] waterfront property owned by the Central Vermont Railway into expensive condominiums, hotels, and offices.[41] Sanders ran under the slogan “Burlington is not for sale” and successfully supported a plan that redeveloped the waterfront area into a mixed-use district featuring housing, parks, and public space.[41] This was greatly assisted by a 1989 Vermont Supreme Court ruling that under a legal provision, Central Vermont Railroad could only use the land for “railroad, wharf, and storage purposes”; 35 acres of railroad land reverted to the city.[41] Today the waterfront area includes many parks and miles of public beach and bike paths, a boathouse and science center,[41] and Burlington is reported to be one of the most livable cities in the nation.[42][43] In 2015, Sanders announced his candidacy for president at Waterfront Park.[40]

After serving four terms, Sanders chose not to seek reelection in 1989. He briefly taught political science at Harvard University‘s Kennedy School of Government that year and atHamilton College in 1991.[44]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

In 1988, incumbent Republican Congressman Jim Jeffords decided to run for the U.S. Senate, vacating Vermont’s at-large congressional district. Republican Lieutenant GovernorPeter P. Smith won the House election with a plurality, securing 41% of the vote. Sanders, who ran as an independent, placed second with 38% of the vote, while Democratic State Representative Paul N. Poirier placed third with 19% of the vote.[45] Two years later Sanders ran for the seat again, and defeated the incumbent Smith by a margin of 56% to 40%.

Sanders was the first independent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 40 years,[46] the last having been Frazier Reams of Ohio. He continually won reelection with high margins, with his closest bid during the 1994 Republican Revolution, when he won by 3.3% with 49.8% of the vote.[47]

Tenure[edit]

Sanders in 1991

During his first year in the House, Sanders found himself alienating allies and colleagues with his frequent criticism of both political parties astools of the wealthy.[19] In 1991, Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and chaired the group of mostly liberal Democrats for its first eight years.

In 1993, Sanders voted against the Brady Bill, which mandated federal background checks and imposed a waiting period on firearm purchasers in the United States,[48] and instead voted in favor of a National Rifle Association-supported bill to restrict lawsuits against gun manufacturers.[49]

Sanders voted against the resolutions authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 1991 and 2002, and opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He voted for the initial 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists[50] that has been cited as the legal justification for controversial military actions since the September 11 attacks.[51] Sanders voted for a non-binding resolution expressing support for troops at the outset of the invasion of Iraq, but gave a floor speech criticizing the partisan nature of the vote and the George W. Bush administration’s actions in the run-up to the war. About the investigation of what turned out to be a leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame‘s identity by a State Department official, Sanders said, “The revelation that the President authorized the release of classified information in order to discredit an Iraq war critic should tell every member of Congress that the time is now for a serious investigation of how we got into the war in Iraq and why Congress can no longer act as a rubber stamp for the President.”[52]

Sanders has been a consistent critic of the Patriot Act. As a member of Congress, he voted against the original Patriot Act legislation.[53] After its 357 to 66 passage in the House, Sanders sponsored and voted for several subsequent amendments and acts attempting to curtail its effects,[54] and voted against each reauthorization.[55]

In March 2006, after a series of resolutions passed in various Vermont towns calling for him to bring articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, Sanders stated it would be “impractical to talk about impeachment” with Republicans in control of the House and Senate.[56] Still, Sanders made no secret of his opposition to the Bush Administration, which he regularly criticized for its cuts to social programs.[57][58][59]

Sanders has been a vocal critic of Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan; in June 2003, during a question-and-answer discussion with the then-Chairman, Sanders told Greenspan that he was concerned that Greenspan was “way out of touch” and “that you see your major function in your position as the need to represent the wealthy and large corporations.”[60][61] Sanders said in 1998 that investment banks and commercial banks should remain separate entities.[62] In October 2008 Greenspan admitted to Congress that his economic ideology was flawed.[63]

In June 2005, Sanders proposed an amendment to limit provisions that allow the government to obtain individuals’ library and book-buying records. The amendment passed the House by a bipartisan majority but was removed on November 4 that year in House-Senate negotiations and never became law.[64] On November 2, 2005, Sanders voted against the Online Freedom of Speech Act, which would have exempted the Internet from the restrictions of the McCain–Feingold Bill.[65]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

Sanders being sworn in by Vice President Dick Cheney

Sanders entered the race for the U.S. Senate on April 21, 2005, after Senator Jim Jeffords announced that he would not seek a fourth term. Chuck Schumer, Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, endorsed Sanders, a critical move as it meant that no Democrat running against Sanders could expect to receive financial help from the party. Sanders was also endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Dean said in May 2005 that he considered Sanders an ally who “votes with the Democrats 98% of the time.”[66] Then-Senator Barack Obamaalso campaigned for Sanders in Vermont in March 2006.[67] Sanders entered into an agreement with the Democratic Party, much as he had as a congressman, to be listed in their primary but to decline the nomination should he win, which he did.[68][69]

In the most expensive political campaign in Vermont’s history,[70] Sanders defeated businessman Rich Tarrant by an approximately 2-to-1 margin. Many national media outlets projected Sanders the winner before any returns came in. He was reelected in 2012 with 71% of the vote.[71]

Tenure[edit]

Sanders testifying to Congress, 2014

Polling conducted in August 2011 by Public Policy Polling found that Sanders’s approval rating was 67% and his disapproval rating 28%, making him then the third-most popular senator in the country.[72] Both the NAACP and the NHLA have given Sanders 100 percent voting scores during his tenure in the Senate.[73]

Budget[edit]

On September 24, 2008, Sanders posted an open letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson decrying the initial bank bailout proposal; it drew more than 8,000 citizen cosigners in 24 hours.[74] On January 26, 2009, Sanders and Democrats Robert Byrd, Russ Feingold and Tom Harkin were the sole majority members to vote against confirming Timothy Geithner as United States Secretary of the Treasury.[75]

On December 10, 2010, Sanders delivered an 8½-hour speech against the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, the proposed extension of the Bush-era tax rates that eventually became law, saying “Enough is enough! … How many homes can you own?”[76] (A long speech such as this is commonly known as a filibuster, but because it didn’t block action, it was not technically a filibuster under Senate rules.[14]) In response to the speech, hundreds of people signed online petitions urging Sanders to run in the 2012 presidential election and pollsters began measuring his support in key primary states.[77] Progressive activists such as RabbiMichael Lerner and economist David Korten publicly voiced their support for a prospective Sanders run against President Barack Obama.[77]

Sanders’s “filibuster” was published in February 2011 by Nation Books as The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class, with authorial proceeds going to Vermont nonprofit charitable organizations.[78]

Senate Budget Committee[edit]

In January 2015, Sanders became the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee.[8] He appointed economics professor Stephanie Kelton, a distinguishedmodern monetary theory scholar and self-described “deficit owl,” the chief economic advisor of the committee’s Democratic minority[79] and presented a report aimed at helping “rebuild the disappearing middle class,” which includes proposals to raise the minimum wage, boost infrastructure spending, and increase Social Security payments.[80]

Committee assignments[edit]

2016 presidential campaign[edit]

Sanders campaigning in Arizona

Sanders announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party‘s nomination for president on April 30, 2015, in an address on theCapitol lawn.[16][17][18] His campaign was officially launched on May 26 in Burlington.[17]

In his announcement, Sanders said, “I don’t believe that the men and women who defended American democracy fought to create a situation where billionaires own the political process.”[16][17] His entry into the race was welcomed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying “I’m glad to see him get out there and give his version of what leadership in this country should be.” Warren has resisted calls to become a candidate herself.[81] On June 19, 2015, the “Ready For Warren” organization endorsed Sanders and rebranded itself “Ready to Fight.”[82]

Unlike other presidential candidates, Sanders stated he will not pursue funding through a “Super PAC“, instead focusing on small individual donations.[83] Sanders’s presidential campaign raised $1.5 million within 24 hours of his official announcement.[84] After four days, Sanders’s campaign had raised $3 million from small donors, with an average of $43 per donation.[85] On July 2, the campaign announced it had raised $15 million from 250,000 donors.

Sanders speaking in Minneapolis

Sanders has used social media to help his campaign gain momentum.[86] Along with posting content on Twitter and Facebook, he held an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit on May 19. Sanders has also gained a large grassroots organizational following online. A July 29 meetup organized online brought 100,000 supporters to more than 3,500 simultaneous events nationwide.[87]

On June 25, 2015, The New York Times noted that Sanders was “running right alongside [Clinton] in a statistical dead heat for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination” in the New Hampshire primaries, citing a CNN/WMUR poll.[88] The Guardian pointed out that when Clinton and Sanders made public appearances within days of each other in Des Moines, Iowa, Sanders drew the larger crowds, although he had already made numerous stops around the state while it was Clinton’s first visit of the year.[89]

Sanders’s campaign events in June 2015 drew “overflow crowds” around the country, to his surprise.[90][91][92] On July 1, 2015, Sanders’s campaign stop in Madison, Wisconsin, drew the largest crowd of any 2016 presidential candidate to that date, with an estimated turnout of 10,000.[93][94] On July 18, he drew an even larger crowd in Arizona, with an estimated turnout of over 11,000.[95] On August 8, Sanders drew an estimated 15,000 in Seattle at the University of Washington’s arena.[96] A day later, some 28,000 people attended a Sanders rally in Portland, Oregon.[97]

Political positions[edit]

Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist who admires the Nordic model of social democracy and is a proponent of workplace democracy.[1][7][98] Many commentators have noted the consistency of his views throughout his political career.[99][100] He focuses on economic issues such as income and wealth inequality,[2][101] raising the minimum wage,[102] universal healthcare,[103] reducing the burden of student debt,[104] making public colleges and universities tuition-free by taxing financial transactions,[105] and expanding Social Security benefits.[106] Sanders has become a prominent supporter of laws requiring companies to provide their workers paternity leave, sick leave, and vacation time, noting that such laws have been adopted by almost every developed country.[107] Sanders also advocates bold action to reverse global warming and infrastructureinvestment in the United States, with “energy efficiency and sustainability” as a prominent goal.[108][109] He is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[110]

Sanders has advocated for more democratic participation by citizens, campaign finance reform and the overturn of Citizens United.[111][112] He has decried institutional racism, called for criminal justice reform to reduce the number of people in prison and advocates a crackdown on police brutality and abolishing private, for-profit prisons.[113][114] He is an advocate of comprehensive financial reforms and favors breaking up “too big to fail” financial institutions and restoring Glass–Steagall.[115][116] Sanders was a strong opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and has been critical of a number of policies instituted during the War on Terror, particularly mass surveillance and the USA PATRIOT Act.[117][118] He takes a liberal approach to social issues, advocating for LGBT rights and lobbying against the Defense of Marriage Act, and maintains a pro-choice stance on abortion, opposing the defunding of Planned Parenthood.[119][120]

Personal life[edit]

Sanders married his “college sweetheart” Deborah Shiling in Baltimore in 1964. They had no children and divorced in 1966. His son, Levi Sanders, was born in 1969 to Susan Campbell Mott. In 1988 Sanders married Jane (O’Meara) Driscoll, a former president of Burlington College, in Burlington, Vermont.[121] With her he has three stepchildren, whom he considers his own.[26][122]

Sanders’s brother, Larry Sanders, was a Green Party County Councillor representing the East Oxford division on Oxfordshire County Council, in England, until his retirement in 2013.[123][124] Larry Sanders ran as a Green Party candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon in the 2015 British general election and came in fifth.[125][126]

Sanders has said he is “proud to be Jewish” but “not particularly religious.” Sanders’s wife is Roman Catholic and he has frequently expressed admiration for Pope Francis, saying: “the leader of the Catholic Church is raising profound issues. It is important that we listen to what he has said.” Sanders often quotes Francis on economic issues and has described him as “incredibly smart and brave.”[22][127]

See also