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Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch Appeals To Senators In Opening Statement

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish in Washington where Judge Neil Gorsuch made his first appearance today before the senators weighing his nomination to the Supreme Court.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NEIL GORSUCH: Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, members of the committee, I am honored, and I am humbled to be here. Since coming to Washington, I've met with over 70 senators. You've offered me a warm welcome and wise advice. Thank you

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Neil Gorsuch is President Trump's nominee to fill the seat that's been vacant since the death of Antonin Scalia just over a year ago. Gorsuch is a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which is based in Denver. During his opening statement late this afternoon, Gorsuch highlighted both his admiration for Scalia and his home in the West.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GORSUCH: Justice Scalia was a mentor, too. He reminded us that words matter, that the judge's job is to follow the words that are in the law, not replace them with those that aren't. His colleagues cherished his great humor, too. Now, we didn't agree on everything. The justice fished with the enthusiasm of a New Yorker.

(LAUGHTER)

GORSUCH: He thought the harder you slapped the line on the water, somehow more the fish would love it.

CORNISH: And Judge Gorsuch described himself as someone fair minded and apolitical. Speaking to the Republicans and Democrats who'll be called upon to vote on his nomination, the judge appeared to be both mindful and dismissive of the political battle forming in the room around him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GORSUCH: I've decided cases for Native Americans seeking to protect tribal lands, for class actions like one that ensured compensation for victims of a large nuclear waste pollution problem produced by corporations in Colorado. I ruled for disabled students, for prisoners, for the accused, for workers alleging civil rights violations and for undocumented immigrants. Sometimes, too, I've ruled against such persons.

My decisions have never reflected a judgment about the people before me, only a judgment about the law and the facts at issue in each particular case. A good judge can promise no more than that, and a good judge should guarantee no less. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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