Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) denounced Neil Gorsuch’s views as too far outside the mainstream to back him for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I cannot support a man with his views for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court,” Sanders said on the Senate floor. “The Supreme Court is the most important judicial body in this country. The decisions that it reaches, even on a 5-4 vote, have a profound impact on all Americans, on our environment and on our way of life.”
Sanders was especially troubled by Gorsuch’s views on voting rights and campaign finance, and he repeated his presidential campaign call for the overturn of the Citizens United ruling that allowed more corporate money to flow into politics.
“That decision, Citizens United, is undermining American democracy and, in my view, is moving us toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of the wealthiest people in this country, the Koch brothers and others, now have the power not only to control our economy but our political life as well,” Sanders said.
“What the Republican leadership is striving towards is eliminating all campaign finance restrictions such that billionaires can say to somebody, ‘I’m going to give you $500 million to run for United States Senate from California, and you work for me, no independent expenditures,” Sanders said. “I will select your campaign manager, your speechwriter, your media writer, your pollster — you are my employee. That is what the Republican leadership here wants.”
Sanders strongly criticized Gorsuch’s views on voting rights, abortion rights, workers’ rights and corporate power.
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, when so many people working throughout this country feel powerless at the hands of the wealthy and the powerful and their employers, we need a Supreme Court justice who will protect workers’ rights and not just worry about corporate profits,” Sanders said. “I fear very much that Judge Gorsuch is not that person.”
He blasted Republican leadership for obstructing President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees and then threatening to blow up Senate rules to push through Trump’s nominee.
“I would suggest to the Republican leader that instead of trying to push this nominee through with 50-some-odd votes, it might make more sense, rather than changing the rule, change the nominee and bring forth somebody who, in fact, can get 60 votes,” Sanders said.