Feinstein: But I think the work you do is very fine and I read it with care
Feinstein: For many of us, what has happened this past year. You have also done an evaluation of Merrick Garland, who was not even given privilege of committee hearing
Feinstein: [now reading from report] "Garland's integrity is off the scales" "has no weaknesses, he may be the perfect human being"
Feinstein: "Garland is the very best"
Feinstein is still reading fabulous quotations about Garland [presumably quotes from people who contributed
to the report, but she hasn't said so]
Feinstein: I read this to dispel any notion that this man was not worthy of a committee hearing
Grassley: I think Gorsuch made very clear his confidence in Garland as well
Graham: Did you contact groups besides the Federalist Society?
Graham: Would you say he is a mainsteam judge?
Degan: Depends what you mean by "mainstream," he meets the highest standards of integrity
Graham: So if there's a stream, he's on the quality end of it?
Degan: He's fishing in it
Graham is now asking about reasonableness and integrity, Degan is saying yes
Franken, Coons and Blumenthal are also here now
None of them want to speak.
Hatch thanks ABA, also says he agrees that Merrick Garland is very good person and judge
Hatch: Do you see any reason why we should not support Gorsuch?
Degan: We've given him our highest rating, so no
Kennedy: How many grades are there?
Degan: 3 -- not qualified, well qualified, low qualified
Kennedy: How many people contribute?
Degan: 15 committee members, 26 people in two academic reading teams, plus 14 practitioners -- 55 people, all distinguished lawyers and academics
Kennedy: All Republicans or all Democrats?
Degan: No, sir, all varied
Degan: We don't get into political affiliation. Also very gender diverse, racially diverse (after follow up questions from Kennedy)
Kennedy is now saying that Degan is one of the most prominent attorneys in Louisiana and is going through her resume in that state. "I trust her judgment."
Okay, there will now be a new panel
First is Judge Deanell Reece Tacha (retired, now with Pepperdine Law School)
Tacha: Privilege to support friend, Gorsuch. Served with him on 10th Circuit as Chief Judge when Gorsuch appointed in 2006
Tacha: Will speak of 3 qualifications. First, Gorsuch the judge -- powerful intellect and probing, analytical approach, strong commitment to limit his analysis to that case. He does not use judicial role as vehicle for anything other than deciding the case before him
Tacha now also praising his writing and saying that she assigns his writings to students to demonstrate the importance of narrative and legal decision-making
Tacha: "Judge Gorsuch is a case by case by case judge"
Tacha: Very important for a court to have high collegiality among members. Not getting along to get along, but improving the quality of the work of the court by careful and respectful listening
Tacha: Judge Gorsuch is such a judge. His attention to colleagues informs his work
Senator Tillis from North Carolina has now arrived (Kennedy left with Degan)
Tacha: Finally, as a person, Gorsuch is a friend and has been since the day he took his role. Unfailing kind, thoughtful, empathetic to all people
Tacha was a Ronald Reagan appointee
Tacha: Gorsuch for me is the gold standard
Now Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First is giving her statement
Massimino is speaking about dangers of an unchecked executive power grabs
Massimino: Now it would be a problem to confirm a judge who would not stand up to this
Massimino: The key question is this -- how would he respond to unprecedented threats to human rights, separation of powers and the rule of law