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]

HEY, KANSAS & SOUTH CAROLINA: Muslim terrorists from Gitmo coming soon to a neighborhood near you?

11781777_10206477856818149_282662434669302934_nJust think, you might be in spitting distance of the leading terrorist mastermind behind 9/11 – Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He likely will never be tried and even if he ever is, he will never be executed. Lucky you, imagine what having former Guantanamo Bay Muslim terrorists  in your neighborhood will do to your property values.

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Washington Examiner  Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Pat Roberts of Kansas are up in arms about reports that the Pentagon is scouting sites in their home states to house terrorist prisoners currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We have received reports of President Obama’s attempt to shut down Guantanamo Bay, which once again reflects another egregious overstep by this administration,” Roberts said in a statement on Friday, referring to the law preventing transferring any of the inmates to a U.S. prison.

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“Congress has consistently stopped Obama by law from moving a single detainee to the U.S.,” Roberts said in reaction to reports that Kansas’s Fort Leavenworth is being considered as the terrorist suspects’ new home.

“I shut down this administration’s nominee for secretary of the Army in 2009 to prevent moving any detainees to Kansas and will do it again if necessary,” he said. “Not on my watch will any terrorist be placed in Kansas.”

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Graham was equally emphatic upon learning that Defense Secretary Ash Carter is also considering Charleston for the new high-risk installation.

“If the detainees need to be moved, they must be moved to a maximum security location in a remote area far from heavily populated areas with vital infrastructure,” Graham told the Washington Post earlier this week. “Charleston does not meet that criteria.”

obama_gitmo_isis-680x365

The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed to lawmakers that it is studying both Forth Leavenworth and the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston as potential sites.

“These visits will also help refine our baseline standard for what a facility should look like to inform potential selection of other locations to evaluate in the future,” the Defense Department notification read.

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Transferring the remaining 116 detainees to the U.S. is being considered as an option for closing Guantanamo Bay. Moving the prisoners to other countries requires congressional notification and unanimous sign off by the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and State, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Earlier this week the Pentagon said it would present Congress with a plan to shutter Guantanamo Bay when they return to Washington after Labor Day.

Lindsey Graham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham, Official Portrait 2006.jpg
United States Senator
from South Carolina
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Serving with Tim Scott
Preceded by Strom Thurmond
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina‘s 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Butler Derrick
Succeeded by Gresham Barrett
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 2nd district
In office
January 12, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Lowell Ross
Succeeded by William Sandifer
Personal details
Born Lindsey Olin Graham
July 9, 1955 (age 60)
Central, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of South Carolina(B.A.) (J.D.)
Religion Southern Baptist
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1982–1988 (Active)
1989–1995 (Air National Guard)
1995–2015 (Reserve)
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Unit U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Lindsey Olin Graham (born July 9, 1955) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party, who has served as aUnited States Senator from South Carolina since 2003, and has been the senior Senator from South Carolina since 2005.

Born in Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981. He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served as a Guardsman first in the South Carolina Air National Guard then in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of colonel. He worked as a lawyer in private practice before he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992, serving one term from 1993 to 1995. He then served in the United States House of Representatives, representing South Carolina’s 3rd congressional district from 1995 to 2003. He was elected to four terms, receiving at least 60% of the vote each time.

In 2002, Graham ran for the U.S. Senate after eight-term Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond announced his retirement. Graham won the primary unopposed and defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham was re-elected to a second term in 2008, defeating Bob Conley. He won a third term in 2014, defeating Democrat Brad Hutto andIndependent Thomas Ravenel.

Referred to by some as a “war hawk” and “interventionist“,[1] Graham is known in the Senate for his advocacy of a strong national defense, his support of the military, and as an advocate of strong United States leadership in world affairs.[2] He is also known for his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on issues like global warming, tax reform and immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions.[3][4][5][6][7][8] He is also a critic of the Tea Party movement, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.[7][9][10][11][12][13]

On May 18, 2015, Graham informally announced his candidacy for President of the United States,[14] followed by a formal announcement on June 1, 2015, in his hometown of Central, South Carolina.[15]

Early life and education[edit]

Graham was born in Central, South Carolina, where his parents, Millie and Florence James “F.J.” Graham, ran a restaurant-bar-pool hall-liquor store, the “Sanitary Cafe”.[16] After graduating from D. W. Daniel High School, Graham became the first member of his family to attend college, and joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. When he was 21, his mother died of Hodgkin’s lymphomaaged 52, and his father died 15 months later of a heart attack aged 69.[16] Because his then-13-year-old sister was left orphaned, the service allowed Graham to attend University of South Carolina in Columbia so he could be near home and care for his sister, whom he adopted.[12] During his studies, he became a member of the Pi Kappa Phi social fraternity.[17]

He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Psychology in 1977, and from the University of South Carolina School of Law with a J.D. in 1981.[18]

Military service[edit]

Upon graduating, Graham was commissioned as an officer and Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force in 1982. He was placed on active duty and in 1984, he was sent to Europe as a military prosecutor and defense attorney, serving at Rhein-Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany.[19] In 1984, as he was defending an air force pilot accused of using marijuana, he was featured in an episode of 60 Minutes that exposed the Air Force’s defective drug-testing procedures.[16][20]After four years in Europe, he returned to South Carolina and then left active duty in 1989.[19] He subsequently entered private practice as a lawyer.[16]

Lt. Gen. Jack L. Rives pins theMeritorious Service Medal on Col. Lindsey Graham.

Following his departure from the Air Force, he joined the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1989, where he served until 1995, then joining the U.S. Air Force Reserve.[19]

During the 1990-91 Gulf War, Graham was recalled to active duty, serving as a Judge Advocate at McEntire Air National Guard Station inEastover, South Carolina, where he helped brief departing pilots on the laws of war.[21] In 1998, the Capitol Hill daily newspaper The Hillcontended that Graham was describing himself on his website as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran. Graham responded: “I have not told anybody I’m a combatant. I’m not a war hero, and never said I was…. If I have lied about my military record, I’m not fit to serve in Congress”, further noting that he “never deployed.”[22][23]

Between January 1995 and January 2005, Graham’s military work totaled 108 hours, an average of less than a day and a half per year.[24] He was an Air Force Reserve appellate judge during part of the period.[20] In 1998, Graham was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In 2004, he was received his promotion to Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve at a White House ceremony officiated by President George W. Bush.[24] That year, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces held that it was improper for Graham to serve as a military judge while a sitting member of the Senate.[25]

In 2007, Graham served in Iraq as a reservist on active duty for a short period in April and for two weeks in August, where he worked on detainee and rule-of-law issues.[26] He also served in Afghanistan during the August 2009 Senate recess.[27] He was then assigned as a senior instructor for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.[19][28]

In 2015, Graham retired from the Air Force with over 33 total years of service, after reaching the statutory retirement age of 60 for his rank.[29]

South Carolina House of Representatives[edit]

In 1992, Graham was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from the 2nd district, located in Oconee County. He defeated Democratic incumbent Lowell W. Ross by 60% to 40% and served one term, from 1993 to 1995.[30]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

In 1994, 20-year incumbent Democratic U.S. Congressman Butler Derrick of South Carolina’s northwestern-based 3rd congressional district decided to retire. Graham ran to succeed him and, with Republican U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond campaigning on his behalf, he won the Republican primary with 52% of the vote, defeating Bob Cantrell (33%) and Ed Allgood (15%).[31] In the general election, Graham defeated Democratic State Senator James Bryan, Jr. by 60% to 40%.[32] As a part of that year’s Republican Revolution, Graham became the first Republican to represent this district since 1877.[11]

In 1996, he was challenged by Debbie Dorn, the niece of Butler Derrick and daughter of Derrick’s predecessor, 13-term Democratic Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn. Graham was re-elected to a second term, defeating Dorn 60% to 40%.[33] In 1998, he won re-election to a third term unopposed.[34] In 2000, he was re-elected to a fourth term against Democrat George Brightharp by 68% to 30%.[35]

Tenure[edit]

In 1996, Graham voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.[36]

In 1997, he took part in an abortive coup against House Speaker Newt Gingrich.[16]

He was a member of the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.[37] He was the only Republican on the Committee to vote against any of the articles of impeachment (the second count of perjury in the Paula Jones case), famously asking: “Is this Watergate or Peyton Place?”[12][16]

Committee assignments[edit]

During his service in the House, Graham served on the following committees:

U.S. Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

2002

In 2002, long-time Republican U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond decided to retire. Graham ran to succeed him and won the Republican primary unopposed. In the general election, he defeated Democrat Alex Sanders, the former President of the College of Charleston and former Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, by 600,010 votes (54%) to 487,359 (44%).[38] Graham thus became South Carolina’s first new U.S. Senator since 1965. He served as the state’s Junior Senator for only two years, serving alongside Democrat Ernest Hollings until he retired in 2005.[39]

2008

When Graham ran for a second term in 2008, he was challenged in the Republican primary by National Executive Committeeman of the South Carolina Republican Party Buddy Witherspoon. Graham defeated him by 186,398 votes (66.82%) to 92,547 (33.18%), winning all but one of South Carolina’s 46 counties. Graham then defeated Democratic pilot and engineer Bob Conley in the general election by 1,076,534 votes (57.53%) to 790,621 (42.25%),[40] having out-spent Conley by $6.6 million to $15,000.[41]

2014

Of all the Republican Senators up for re-election in the 2014 cycle, Graham was considered one of the most vulnerable to a primary challenge, largely due to his low approval ratings and reputation for working with and compromising with Democrats.[42][43] He expected a primary challenge from conservative activists, including the Tea Party movement,[44] and Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth, indicated that his organization would support a primary challenge if an acceptable standard-bearer emerged.[45]

However, a serious challenger to Graham failed to emerge and he was widely viewed as likely to win,[6][13][42] which has been ascribed to his “deft maneuvering” and “aggressive” response to the challenge. He befriended potential opponents from the state’s congressional delegation and helped them with fundraising and securing their preferred committee assignments; he assembled a “daunting multimillion-dollar political operation” dubbed the “Graham machine” that built six regional offices across the state and enlisted the support of thousands of paid staffers and volunteers, including over 5,000 precinct captains; he assembled a “staggering” campaign warchest and “blanketed” the state with positive ads; he focused on constituent services and local issues; and he refused to “pander” to the Tea Party supporters, instead confronting them head-on, arguing that the Republican party needs to be more inclusive.[10][11][12][13][46]

In the run-up to the Republican primary, Graham’s approval rating improved. According to a Winthrop poll from February 2013, he held a 59% positive rating among Republican likely voters.[47] In the primary, held on June 10, 2014, Graham won with 178,833 votes (56.42%). His nearest challenger, State Senator Lee Bright, received 48,904 votes (15.53%). In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Senator Brad Hutto and Independent Thomas Ravenel, a former Republican State Treasurer.[48]

Political positions[edit]

Graham has been referred to by Tea Party opponents as, a “moderate Republican“.[9][10] He describes himself, however, as a “Reagan-style Republican”, and has been described as a fairly conservative Republican with “a twang of moderation” and as having “an independent streak”.[6][16][20]

Much of the Tea Party criticism focuses on his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on issues like climate change, tax reform and immigration reform and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions.[3][4][5][6][7][8] He voted to confirm both of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees,Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.[49][50] For his part, Graham has criticised and confronted the Tea Party, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.[7][9][10][11][12][13]

We lost. President Obama won. I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree, but the Constitution, in my view, puts an obligation on me not to replace my judgment for his, not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick someone different… I view my duty as to protect the Judiciary and to ensure that hard-fought elections have meaning in our system. I’m going to vote for her [Kagan] because I believe this election has consequences. And this president chose someone who is qualified to serve on this court and understands the difference between being a liberal judge and a politician. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a hard decision… She would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, chose wisely.[50]

Graham, explaining his vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

In the National Journal’s ideological rankings of Senators, Graham was named 41st most-conservative in 2003, 38th most-conservative in 2004, 43rd most-conservative in 2005, 33rd most-conservative in 2006, 24th most-conservative in 2007, 15th most-conservative in 2008, 26th most-conservative in 2009, 24th most-conservative in 2010, 42nd most-conservative in 2011, 33rd most-conservative in 2012 and 40th most-conservative in 2013.[51]

Alito confirmation hearings

During the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for the nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, a question arose concerning Alito’s membership in a Princeton University organization which some said was sexist and racist.[52][53] In response, Alito stated that he “deplored” certain racist comments that had been made by the organization’s founder.[54] While Graham allowed that Alito might just be saying this because he wanted the nomination, Graham concluded that he had no reason to believe that because “you seem to be a decent, honorable man.”[54] Alito’s wife and sister characterized Graham’s statements as supportive.[55][56]

Free speech

President Obama signing the Fair Sentencing Actin 2010

During an appearance on Face the Nation on April 3, 2011,[57] Graham “suggested that Congress take unspecified though formal action against the Koranburning by Florida preacher Terry Jones,” in light of an attack on United Nations personnel triggered by Jones’ actions.[58] In asserting that “Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech,”[59] Graham argued that “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” and claimed that “during World War II, we had limits on what you could say if it would inspire the enemy.”[58][60]

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Graham was one of the so-called Gang of 14 senators to forge a compromise that brought a halt to the continued blockage of an up-or-down vote on judicial nominees. This compromise negated both the Democrats’ use of afilibuster and the Republican “nuclear option” as described in the media. Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an “extraordinary circumstance”, and subsequently, three conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) received a vote by the full Senate.

National Security Agency surveillance

In response to the 2013 disclosures about the United States National Security Agency and its international partners’ global surveillance of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, Graham said that he was “glad” the NSA was collecting phone records. He said: “I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don’t think you’re talking to the terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not. So we don’t have anything to worry about.”[61][62]

Detainee interrogations

In July 2005, Graham secured the declassification and release of memoranda outlining concerns made by senior military lawyers as early as 2003 about the legality of the interrogations of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.[63]

Regarding U.S. Citizens accused of supporting terrorism, senator Lindsey Graham has stated before the senate, “When they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.’”

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, 2011[64]

In response to this and a June 2004 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing detainees to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their detentions, Graham authored an amendment to a Department ofDefense Authorization Act[65] attempting to clarify the authority of American courts. The amendment passed in November 2005 by a vote of 49–42 in the Senate despite opposition from human rights groups and legal scholars who contended that it limited the rights of detainees.[66][67]

Graham has said he amended the Department of Defense Authorization Act in order to give military lawyers, as opposed to politically appointed lawyers, a more independent role in the oversight of military commanders. He has argued that two of the largest problems leading to the detainee abuse scandals at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib were this lack of oversight and troops’ confusion over legal boundaries.[68]

Graham further explained that military lawyers had long observed the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention, but that those provisions had not been considered by the Bush administration in decisions regarding the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. He has claimed that better legal oversight within the military’s chain of command will prevent future detainee abuse.[69]

In February 2006, Graham joined Senator Jon Kyl in filing an amicus brief in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case that argued “Congress was aware” that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear “pending cases, including this case” brought by the Guantanamo detainees.[70]

In a May 2009 CNN interview, Graham referred to the domestic internment of German and Japanese prisoners of war and U.S. Citizens as a model for domestic detention ofGuantanamo detainees by saying, “We had 450,000 Japanese and German prisoners housed in the United States during World War II. As a nation, we can deal with this.”[71]

Immigration reform

Graham was a supporter of “comprehensive immigration reform” and of S. 2611, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill of 2006 as well as S. 1348 of 2007, theComprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. His positions on immigration, and in particular collaborating with Senator Ted Kennedy, earned Graham the ire of conservative activists.[72] The controversy prompted conservative activists to support a primary challenge in 2008 by longtime Republican national committeeman Buddy Witherspoon,[73][74]but Graham won the nomination by a large margin.[75]

In early 2010, Graham began working with Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer on immigration reform.[76] The talks broke down later in the year.[77]

In July 2010, Graham suggested that U.S. citizenship as an automatic birthright guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be amended, and that any children born of illegal immigrants inside the borders of the United States should be considered illegal immigrants.[78] Graham alleged that “Half the children born in hospitals on our borders are the children of illegal immigrants.”[79] Responding to the Graham claim, The New York Times cited a Pew Foundation study estimating that illegal immigrants account for only 8 percent of births in the United States and that 80 percent of the mothers had been in the U.S. for more than one year.[80]

In November 2012, Graham and Schumer re-opened their talks on comprehensive immigration reform.[77] On January 28, 2013, Graham was a member of a bi-partisan group of eight Senators which announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform.[81] On June 23, 2013, Graham said that the Senate was close to obtaining 70 votes to pass the reform package.[82]

Gun rights

Graham opposes extending background checks,[83] saying that “universal background checks are going to require universal [gun] registration.”[84] He has, however, called current gun laws “broken”, citing an example of a woman who pled guilty by reason of insanity to attempting to kill President George W. Bush, but who was then able later to pass a background check and buy a gun.[85] To this end, in March 2013, he joined with Senators Jeff Flake, Mark Begich and Mark Pryor in introducing a bill that would close a loophole by flagging individuals who attempt to buy guns who have used an insanity defense, were ruled dangerous by a court or had been committed by a court to mental health treatment. It did not address the gun show loophole.[86]

Health care

Graham opposed President Barack Obama’s health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[87] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[88]

Graham is a cosponsor of the Healthy Americans Act.

Climate change

On December 10, 2009, Graham co-sponsored a letter to President Barack Obama along with then Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman announcing their commitment to passing a climate change bill and outlining its framework.[89][90] Graham has been identified as a leading supporter of passing a climate change bill and was thought to be a likely sponsor for the final bill. The Senators have identified a green economy, clean air, energy independence, consumer protection, increasing nuclear power and regulating the world’s carbon market as the key features to a successful climate change bill.[91] In response to Senate Democrats shifting their priorities to immigration issues, a reaction toArizona’s passage of an illegal immigration law, Graham withdrew his support for the climate bill, leaving its passage in doubt.[92]

Graham told reporters in June 2010 that “The science about global warming has changed. I think they’ve oversold this stuff, quite frankly. I think they’ve been alarmist and the science is in question. The whole movement has taken a giant step backward.”[93] He also stated that he planned to vote against the climate bill that he had originally co-sponsored, citing further restriction of offshore drilling added to the bill and the bill’s impact on transportation.[94]

Foreign policy

Known as a leading war hawk, Graham supports an interventionist foreign policy.[1] Graham and his fellow Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, who were frequently dubbed “the three amigos”, travelled widely, pushing for American military intervention, particularly after the September 11 attacks. Their influence reached its zenith in 2007 as President Bush advocated for his surge strategy in Iraq, declining shortly before Lieberman retired from the Senate in 2013.[95][96] Kelly Ayotte, who joined the Senate in 2011, has been considered Lieberman’s replacement in the group.[97][98]

John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Al-Faw Palace, Iraq, 2007

On November 6, 2010, at the Halifax International Security Forum, Graham called for a pre-emptive military strike to weaken the Iranian regime.[99] He has also argued that “the U.S. needs to keep at least 10,000 troops in Iraq into 2012,” saying that “If we’re not smart enough to work with the Iraqis to have 10,000 to 15,000 American troops in Iraq in 2012, Iraq could go to hell.”[100]

In August 2011, Graham co-sponsored with Senator Jeanne Shaheen Senate Resolution 175, wherewith he contended that “Russia’s invasion of Georgian land in 2008 was an act of aggression, not only to Georgia but to all new democracies.” The claim that Russia instigated the aggression in South Ossetia, however, has been contradicted by many observers, including a European Union investigation. The resolution passed unanimously.

He is an advisor to The Atlantic Bridge.

Graham is a strong, unapologetic supporter of Israel, and threatened to derail the confirmation of President Obama’s nomination for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, remarking that Hagel “would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation’s history.”[101]

On January 29, 2013, in an interview with Fox News, he claimed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “got away with murder”, following her testimony about the 2012 Benghazi attack.[102] But the next year he would concede that the House Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi was, as he put it, “full of crap”, and that the Administration had been cleared of many of the charges therein.[103][104][105]

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Senators John McCain, John Barrasso and Lindsey Graham in Jerusalemon January 3, 2014

On February 28, 2013, Graham criticized President Obama and both political parties on the Senate floor for allowing the budget reduction to occur with “two-thirds of the budget” exempt from reductions and said the impact on the Department of Defense would create a “hollow military” that “invites aggression”.[106][107][108][109]

On July 16, 2013, Graham suggested the United States should consider boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because of “what the Russian government is doing throughout the world.”[110] Graham also said the U.S. should aim to “drive the Russian economy into the ground.”[111]

Drones

In May 2015 Senator Graham said “If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL[Islamic State], I’m not gonna call a judge,” Graham said. “I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.”[112]

Taxation

Although Graham had earlier signed Grover Norquist‘s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, in June 2012, he went on record supporting the closure of tax loopholes without compensating decreases in other tax revenue, saying “We’re so far in debt, that if you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks.”[113]

Technology

During an appearance on NBC‘s Meet the Press on March 8, 2015, in a discussion of Hillary Clinton’s private email server controversy, Graham told host Chuck Todd that he would be happy to release all of his own emails, because he did not use email, and had never sent an email before.[114]

2015 Charleston church shooting/Confederate flag issue

Following a multiple shooting incident at an historic African-American church in Charleston on June 17, 2015, Graham canceled all campaign events to return to South Carolina. In response to questions from the press regarding the calls from some, following the incident, to remove the Confederate flag at a war memorial on the South Carolina State Capitol grounds, Graham said: “Well, at the end of the day it’s time for people in South Carolina to revisit that decision. [That] would be fine with me, but this is part of who we are.” He continued, “The flag represents to some people a civil war, and that was the symbol of one side. To others it’s a racist symbol, and it’s been used by people – it’s been used in a racist way.”[115] Regarding the shooter responsible for the incident, Graham said, “We’re not going to give this a guy an excuse about a book he might have read, or a movie he watched, or a song he listened to, or a symbol out anywhere. It’s him … not the flag.”[116]

In a statement issued later, Graham said: “There can be no doubt that the shooting . . . was racially motivated and signals to all of us that the scars of our history are still with us today. This murderer said he wanted to start a race war; he has failed miserably. In Charleston this weekend, I saw a community coming together. I saw people seeking solace in what they share together, not in what makes them different.”[117]

In July 2015, Graham called Donald Trump a “jackass” during an interview on CNN. In response, Trump criticized Graham for asking him for help to get on Fox & Friends and gave out Graham’s mobile phone number.[118]

Committee assignments[edit]

Previous assignments

Caucus memberships[edit]

Graham is a member of the board of directors of the International Republican Institute.[120]

Presidential politics[edit]

Graham is a close friend of Arizona Senator John McCain. He supported McCain’s presidential bid in 2000 and served as national co-chairman of McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.[11][121]

In 2012, Graham’s endorsement was highly sought,[122] but he declined to endorse one of the Republican candidates ahead of the January 2012 South Carolina Republican primary.[123] After Rick Santorum withdrew from the race in April 2012, leaving Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee, Graham endorsed Romney.[124]

During his Senate re-election race in October 2014, while discussing immigration and foreign policy issues with a reporter from The Weekly Standard, Graham said : “If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody’s out there talking . . . I may just jump in to get to make these arguments.”[125] And on March 7, 2015, at a “Politics and Pies” forum, Graham advocated the reversal of defense spending cuts and quipped: “If I were President of the United States, I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to.”[126]

On April 19, 2015, Graham told Chris Wallace, on the Fox News Sunday show, that he was “91% sure” he would run for President. “If I can raise the money, I’ll do it,” he said.[127]And on On May 18, 2015, Graham informally announced that he would run for president on CBS This Morning, saying he was running because he thinks “the world is falling apart.”[14]

He made an official announcement of his candidacy for President on June 1, 2015.[128]

Electoral history[edit]

South Carolina’s 3rd congressional district: Results 1994–2000[129]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1994 James E. Bryan, Jr. 59,932 40% Lindsey Graham 90,123 60% *
1996 Debbie Dorn 73,417 39% Lindsey Graham 114,273 60% Lindal Pennington Natural Law 1,835 1%
1998 (no candidate) Lindsey Graham 129,047 100% Write-ins 402 <1%
2000 George Brightharp 67,170 30% Lindsey Graham 150,180 68% Adrian Banks Libertarian 3,116 1% *

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1994, write-ins received 13 votes. In 2000, Natural Law candidate LeRoy J. Klein received 1,122 votes and write-ins received 33 votes. George Brightharp ran under both the Democratic and United Citizens Parties and received 2,253 votes on the United Citizen line.

Senate elections in South Carolina (Class II): Results 2002–2014[129]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Alex Sanders 487,359 44% Lindsey Graham 600,010 54% Ted Adams Constitution 8,228 1% Victor Kocher Libertarian 6,648 1% *
2008 Bob Conley 785,559 42% Lindsey Graham 1,069,137 58% Write-ins 608 <1%
2014 Brad Hutto 480,933 39% Lindsey Graham 672,941 54% Thomas Ravenel Independent 47,588 4% Victor Kocher Libertarian 33,839 3% *

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 667 votes. In 2014, write-ins received 4,774 votes.

Personal life[edit]

Graham has never been married and has no children.[11] He helped to raise his sister, Darline Graham Nordone, after their parents both died when he was 22 and she was 13. Experiencing the early deaths of his parents, Graham says, made him mature more quickly, and Nordone, who introduced her brother at his formal announcement of his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, said she hoped to be with him on the campaign trail frequently to show voters his softer side. “He’s kind of like a brother, a father and a mother rolled into one,” she said. “I’ve always looked up to Lindsey.”[130]

Graham currently lives in Seneca, South Carolina, and is a member of the Corinth Baptist Church.[131]

References