October 22, 2017
    Assns react to Gorsuch confirmation to U.S. Supreme Court

    ASAE watchful of legislative filibusters now


    The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch as the new justice of the U.S. Supreme Court today 54-45, with three Democrats crossing the aisle.

    The assumption is, Gorsuch will restore the high court to a conservative majority of 5 to 4. He fills the seat of Antonin Scalia, who died unexpectedly about a year ago. Scalia was considered the most conservative of the justices while he served. Gorsuch is expected to take the oath on Monday.

    ASAE public policy SVP Jim Clarke, CAE, said Gorsuch becoming a member of the high court will “not be an issue of association management. We did not make a position and do not have a statement on it.”

    Other associations have started to react to Gorsuch’s confirmation.

    “The National Restaurant Association and the Restaurant Law Center applaud the Senate’s vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified and thoughtful jurist, and his insight and voice will be a welcome addition to the court,” - Restaurant Law Center executive director Angelo Amador said.

    In a letter sent to senators on April 4, the U.S. Chamber stated its support of Gorsuch's nomination and its opposition to the filibuster, telling senators that the Chamber will consider including their votes on cloture related to the Gorsuch nomination in its "How They Voted" socrecard.

    "No one, the Chamber included, agrees with every decision rendered by any judge. However, over the course of his distinguished judicial career and during the current confirmation process, Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated that he is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court," the letter states.

    Earlier, the American Bar Association rated Gorsuch "well-qualified," the association's highest rating.

    Regarding the extraordinary circumstance under which Gorsuch was confirmed, Clarke said ASAE would have liked to have seen the regular order maintained rather than the majority party invoking the so-called “nuclear option.” Now, “we’ll watch to see if anything happens with the legislative filibuster,” Clarke said. 

    The nuclear option was created by the Democrats in 2013 to get around Republican filibusters of judicial appointments. Under the nuclear option, a series of procedural maneuvers are undertaken by the majority party to end a filibuster by the minority party, leading to a simple majority vote of the nominee. Supreme Court nonfirmations traditionally need a supermajority of 60 votes.

    In the past week Senate Democrats began to filibuster Gorsuch, who is a judge of the Tenth Circuit. On April 6, Republicans invoked the nuclear option to force a final vote. They called the Democrat filibuster of Gorsuch unprecedented. Reaction by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was that there will be “less faith in the Supreme Court” going forward, according to media reports.

    The three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch were Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

    This article was published originally on April 7 under a "BREAKING" alert.

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