Kennedy-- suppose the words are clear, do you stop?
Kennedy- would you want to look at legislative history to make sure the words are clear
Gorsuch-- if the words are plain, you stop
Kennedy-- In determining whether the words are plain, I've read that it's okay to consider legislative history, can be helpful, also read that it's ok for a judge to try and imagine what problems the legislature was trying to fix
Kennedy-- If Ben Franklin said something about the constitutional convention, you'd want to know what he said. Similarly, if legislators said something about a statute, wouldn't you want to know about it?
Gorsuch-- precedent on this is plain. If the statute is clear, it is the end of interpreting
Gorsuch-- due process, fair notice problems, separation of powers issues with legislative history
Gorsuch-- would read the brief and look at all materials, but when the statute is plain, precedent says stop
Kennedy-- When it's not plain, which is many times the case, would it ever be appropriate for a judge to look at legislative history and the problems they were trying to solve
Gorsuch-- what do you mean
Gorsuch-- I have a difficult time getting in anyone's head, much less 535 reps and the president
Kennedy-- Third amendment, quartering troops, is this about privacy?
Kennedy-- state action. The Bill of Rights protects us against government. What do you understand a state actor to be?
Gorsuch-- what do you mean?
Kennedy-- sometimes there are entities that are alleged to be acting as a state
Gorsuch-- interesting question. Is it a government or isn't it. US v Akron, a case in which I ruled for the little guy, had to do with government entities
Gorsuch-- there are questions around this area. very important. If something counts as a government, they need to square their corners with the Constitution
Kennedy-- You mentioned the little guy. I was taught justice was blind, doesn't matter the party's wealth or status or power. I agree with you completely on that
Kennedy-- Your book on euthanasia. Could you give me a summary of the thesis in my book?
Gorsuch-- The end of life, which we all face. In the book I struggle with these issues and how we as a people might consider dealing with it before I became a judge.
Kennedy-- in your thesis, it is not based on religion?
Kennedy-- based on secular moral values? once you cheapen life, become cheapen life, becomes more easy to take life that is less powerful?
Kennedy yields his time. Senate will now run over the the Senate to vote
FYI, after the vote, the Senate will do a closed session, which Grassley suggested should last about half an hour, then there will be a third round of questions if any senator requests it
Gorsuch is back in the room
A couple senators here as well-- Blumenthal, Grassley, Kennedy...
There are nobody in the public visitors section. Grassley just brought us back in.
We are doing a third round, Grassley asks that each session is no longer than 15 min
Grassley starts with yes or no questions, says all can be answered by yes
He is listing: "Did you rule that_____?"
Topics include tribal sovereignty, energy and environment, pregnancy discrimination, labor issues....
These seems to be "little guy" type rulings
Grassley-- those are just a few cases in which you ruled in favor of the little guy
Grassley-- the real question is whether you applied to law faithfully. Do you agree with me on that point?
Will discuss private practice. Durbin-- what pro bono work have you done in private practice?
Gorsuch-- done a lot of work on the rules committee, on making litigation cheaper, capital habeas...
Durbin-- Email at justice, you included an article criticizing lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees
Gorsuch-- my friend Neal Katyal who introduced me successfully represented some of those detainees and I have nothing but admiration for those lawyers. That email is not my finest moment and I think my career is better than that
Gorsuch-- I'd like to think that my career taken as a whole represents my values