Franken: I think everyone here would have done exactly what he did. I think it's an easy answer.
For reference, here is a review of the previous senators who have spoken and when they began. Senators are given 30 minutes.
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): 9:40 a.m.
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): 10:10 a.m.
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): 10:41 a.m.
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.): 11:12 a.m.
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): 11:43 a.m.
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): 12:46 p.m.
John Cornyn (R-Texas): 1:21 p.m.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.): 1:50 p.m.
Mike Lee (R-Utah): 2:20 p.m.
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): 2:51 p.m.
Ted Cruz (R-Texas): 3:35 p.m.
Al Franken (D-Minn.): 4:05 p.m.
You dissent. You don't say it was subzero, you say it was cold, says Franken. You don't have many facts.
Franken reads the statute.
You decided because he opted to operate the vehicle, says Franken.
Gorsuch: That's the gist of it.
Franken: I am not a lawyer, but I have been on this committee for about eight years and have paid some attention.
Here's what the plain meaning of the rule: look at text and meaning.
Gorsuch: Both sides argued that the plain meaning supported their conclusion.
Franken: The plain meaning rule has an exception. When using it would create an "absurd result," courts should depart from the plain meaning.
[Franken is pretty worked up right now.]
Absurd that his choices were freezing to death or endangering others, says Franken. I had a career in the absurd, and i know it when I see it. It makes me question your judgment.
Franken: I asked you whether you were bothered by the treatment of Merrick Garland. You said, I try to stay away from politics.
Franken: Your relationship with politics came up again yesterday when Senator Lee lamented that process has become so political, nominees have a hard time navigating. But that's not entirely accurate.
Franken: After your nomination, we asked for documents during your time at DOJ.
Franken: The Neil Gorsuch in those emails seems to be very familiar with politics. He was looking for a job.
Franken, quoting from email by Gorsuch seeking a job in Bush administration: I have spent considerable time trying to help the cause, would like to be a full-time member of the team.
Franken: you had worked on campaigns since 1976 for Reagan, both Bushes, cited for distinguished service to Senate in support of judicial nominees.
Franken: For a good deal of your career, you didn't avoid politics. So I am asking about Garland again.
Gorsuch: Going back to absurdity doctrine, was never presented to the court, usually applied to "scrivener's error."
In 1976, Gorsuch was 8 years old, turning 9 on Aug. 29.
Franken: If I read my statutory interpretation correctly [he actually has a little book], don't you think it was absurd?
Gorsuch: Sir, my heart goes out to him.
Franken: How do you think Merrick Garland was treated?
Gorsuch: I am subject to canon of ethics that precludes me from commenting.
Franken: This is not something that requires you to state your political views. This is about how a nominee was treated. You are allowed to talk about what happened to the last guy.
Gorsuch: I think the world of Merrick Garland.
Franken is frustrated. Thank you. "I don't mean to cut you off." [Except that he does.]
Gorsuch: In 1976 I was walking the district with my mom, who was running for state house.
Franken is back to Gorsuch's job search, and his request for help from Ken Mehlman. Mehlman: He is a true loyalist.
Franken -- Mehlman: Bush campaign to make sure that anti-gay referenda would appear on ballots to help Republican turnout. They had a profound impact on people's lives.
Franken: Mehlman has announced that he is gay, expressed regret about his efforts.
Franken: Brave thing to say, hard to admit regret. You shouldn't have any problem answering this question: How have your views on marriage equality changed since 2004?
Gorsuch: My personal views don't matter.
Franken: It is settled law.
Franken: You have given a version of this answer before, so I understand.
Franken discussing comments by Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff. Says we are talking about change of potentially 40 years of law with Gorsuch confirmation.
Franken: Priebus said your job is to change 40 years of law. But you say to follow the laws as written. Which is it?
Franken: Priebus said your nomination was central to fulfilling promises that Trump made to conservatives. What was he talking about?
Gorsuch: Priebus doesn't speak for me. I don't appreciate it when people characterize me. I like to speak for myself. I am my own man.
Franken: I don't think we are crazy to think that the administration was lying. Are you comfortable with your nomination being described in such transactional terms?
Gorsuch: There is a lot about this process that I am uncomfortable about.
Gorsuch: Here to answer questions about my qualifications and my record.