Durbin: Can you describe your relationship with John Finnis?
Gorsuch: He was my dissertation supervisor. Met him when I first went to Oxford.
Durbin: What was your relationship?
Gorsuch: Relationship between teacher and student. Very generous, esp with his red ink on my papers.
Durbin: You still are friendly with him?
Gorsuch: Last time I saw him was when he retired, there was a party in his honor . . . maybe a couple of years ago?
Durbin: Did he know you were from Colorado?
Durbin: Do you recall saying gratitude for his help in writing your book?
Gorsuch: He did not write my book. I wrote my book.
Durbin: You thanked him for his help, draft after draft?
Gorsuch: There were many drafts. It was really hard.
Durbin: When Notre Dame ran a symposium to celebrate his work in 2011, you called him one of the great scholars.
Gorsuch: It was a privilege to go to Oxford. There were so many great scholars there.
Durbin: Reading from Finnis. In 2009, he wrote that England's population had largely given up bearing children, on a path to replacement by other people's children. "European states in early 21st century" move into decay. Had you read that before?
Durbin: Had you heard it before?
Durbin: Do you agree with what he said about culture?
Durbin: In 1993, at Oxford, Finnis was tapped by then-Colorado SG to defend state constitutional amendment that restricted state from protecting gays and lesbians. [This led to Romer v. Evans.]
Durbin: Finnis said homosexuality was bestiality. Were you aware of that?
Gorsuch: I don't recall specifics of his testimony.
Durbin: This is a man who apparently had an impact on your life. I am trying to figure out the extent of that impact.
Gorsuch: Best evidence is what I have written -- over six million words as a federal appellate judge. That's my record, I would ask you respectfully to look at it.
Gorsuch again referring to his work on access to justice.
Durbin: What about LGBT -- and Q individuals?
Gorsuch: What about them?
Durbin: Can you point to statements or cases relative to them?
Gorsuch: I have tried to provide everyone with equal justice under law.
Durbin: Does that refer to sexual orientation as well?
Gorsuch: Court said same-sex marriage is protected by Constitution.
Durbin asks about potential employment discrimination case in which employer asks woman about family plans.
Gorsuch: It would be inappropriate. I won't say more.
Durbin: Should employers make inquiries into whether employee intends to become pregnant?
Durbin: Asking about your views on pregnancy in workplace because two former students wrote to the committee to say they were troubled by your comments on maternity benefits. Last night the law school confirmed that she had voiced the concerns immediately after they happened. When we receive information about this, we want to get to the bottom of it.
Durbin: Did you ask your students to raise your students if they had heard of a woman who had taken maternity benefits and then left the country?
Gorsuch: The first I heard about this was the night before my confirmation hearing.
I have been teaching legal ethics for a number of years, use a standard textbook. One chapter confronts lawyers with some harsh realities, says Gorsuch. We have an unhappy and unhealthy profession in many ways.
There is one problem in the book, says Gorsuch, which asks the question: suppose an older female partner asks you if you intend to become pregnant soon. What are your choices as a young person? Can say yes and not get the job; you can lie, maybe get the job; you can say no. Or you can push back in some way, shape or form. We talk about the pros and cons in a Socratic dialogue. I do ask for a show of hands on the following question: How many of you have had inappropriate questions asked about family planning in an interview?
I knew this happened to my mom and to Justice O'Connor, says Gorsuch. I am shocked it still happens every year. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.
Durbin: Justice Jackson was one of your four heroes. I looked at his cases yesterday. I found his dissent in Korematsu. It wasn't very long, but it was profound.
Durbin: Question was treatment of Japanese Americans in World War 2.
The other three heroes Gorsuch mentioned yesterday were Byron White, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia.
Durbin: He gave a constitutional command of what he considered the military's racist exclusion orders. And then he raised a question about the Supreme Court in times of war and whether it was up to it.