Gorsuch: I don't know how I could be any clearer.
Blumenthal: You could be much clearer.
Blumenthal: Was it the right result?
Gorsuch: I have drawn a line that I think is required by a good judge. To be fair and accept the separation of powers.
Blumenthal: Some cases deserve more respect as precedent than others.
Blumenthal: There is no threat of it coming before the court b/c you said no state would pass such a law.
Gorsuch: Over 50 years old, reliance interests, repeatedly reaffirmed . . . .
Gorsuch: I don't know how much clearer I could be.
Blumenthal: Would you say the same about Eisenstadt v. Baird?
Blumenthal: You think Justice Alito is a good justice? He said he agreed with the result in Eisenstat v. Baird, unwilling to agree with Griswold as Roberts did?
Gorsuch: I think we are splitting hairs. I have told you quite clearly that those are old . . . .I try to treat all precedents equally.
Blumenthal: We are doing more than splitting hairs because words matter. Asking you to agree that these results are correct is a relevant and important question, speaks volumes.
Gorsuch: I don't come at these issues fresh.
Gorsuch: Precedent represents collective wisdom.
Blumenthal: Let's talk about Loving v. Virginia, invalidating ban on interracial marriage.
Gorsuch: Vindication of original meaning of equal protection law.
Gorsuch: One of the great moments in Supreme Court history.
Blumenthal: Lawrence v. Texas?
Gorsuch: Due all the weight of precedent.
Blumenthal: Do you agree it overturned an incorrect decision?
Gorsuch: It is precedent.
Blumenthal: The answer that you have given leaves doubt in a lot of minds. To quote from a concurrence by Justice Kennedy, "Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt." Your declining to be more direct and give the same answer about these cases leaves doubt in the minds of millions of Americans who rely on privacy rights.
Blumenthal: That doubt is regrettable.
Blumenthal: What about the result in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey?
Gorsuch: Many people at this hearing have declined to provide their personal views.
Gorsuch: As a judge, my job is to decide cases as they come to me.
Blumenthal: I am not asking you to look forward. Am asking whether you accept basic core principles of the right to privacy.
Grassley: Before Senator Crapo, we have a vote coming up. That would be a good time for us to have the break and move to our closed session and then come back here.
Crapo: I respect your absolute resistance to being invited to put your personal opinions on to the issues that you need to face.
Crapo: Let's talk about originalism and textualism. I realize it's hard to put labels on this issue, but I would like you to discuss the one that Senator Feinstein started out with: If it is the approach that a justice should take, to look at the constitution or statute as written, does that mean that somehow as science evolves and circumstances develop, that we don't have a way to deal with applying those laws to new circumstances? What are the parameters?
Gorsuch: The job of a judge is not to interpret the law, but to apply the law.
Gorsuch talking about some originalist/textualist cases.
Flake: I have one other question for now. Would like to talk to you about the concept of independent agencies as you discussed with Senator Sasse. They are in executive branch but they are independent.
Flake is winding up. Says the idea of understanding the three separate parts of government and the potential that this line of cases has to create a fourth branch is troubling to many of us.
Senator Hirono of Hawaii: I still feel like there is much more we need to know.
Hirono: You painted a picture of a court straight out of Norman Rockwell. It's a wonderful idea that anyone can file a claim and will get a neutral judge.
Hirono: But politics and the courts are intertwined, as you said in your 2005 National Review article.
Hirono: Should justice depend on who won the last election or who is in charge of nominating or confirming judges?
Gorsuch: I don't view my colleagues as Republican judges or Democrat judges. I view them as people. If you look at my record [citing statistics on 2700 cases, 97% unanimous, 99% in majority].
Hirono interrupts him. Says she isn't getting an answer to the question she asked.
Hirono: I think my question requires a yes or no answer.
Gorsuch: I don't think it does.