Franken: Section II of VRA allows challenges after bills enacted. This happened in North Carolina. But the Fourth Circuit did not strike down the law until 2016 -- meaning that some of the restrictions were on the books for years, and these restrictions kept people from voting
Franken: According to NCAAP, hundreds of North Carolina voters were not able to vote. I mentioned this to Judge Gorsuch to see if he was bothered.
Franken: Gorsuch said Section II still available. I pointed out that this takes time. He told me that voting is a fundamental right but didn't answer my question. Ms. Clarke, I was not reassured by this.
Franken: I think it's important to know if he takes proper measure of the fact, and the fact is that Section II is not adequate on its own. Do you agree?
Clarke: Yes, Section II is not enough. Right to vote is the most sacred civil right in our democracy.
Clarke: I listened to Gorsuch's response to Sen. Leahy about the VRA about a racial entitlement, and I am troubled that he did not disavow himself from that statement.
Clarke: Sadly we have seen the floodgates of voter discrimination and suppression open all across the county since Shelby County v. Holder.
Clarke: Texas is another example that had effect of disenfranchising 600,000 legitimately registered voters
Clarke: We need to make sure the VRA is fairly interpreted and applied
Crapo now up, no questions
Hirono to Clarke, also on Shelby County
Hirono: Discriminatory effect is ver difficult to prove under Section II, right?
Clarke: Yes, we're also seeing evidence of discriminatory purpose
Hirono: The very thing we were concerned about in Shelby County would happen, did happen, in terms of disenfranchisement.
Hirono: Very difficult to understand Gorsuch's judicial philosophy. All he said is that he would apply precedent.
Hirono to Miller (from WWH): Do you see Gorsuch's ruling on Hobby Lobby as indicative of a woman's right to choose/
Hirono to Marshall: I've come to the conclusion that originalism is just a tool to be used to reach certain results. Under originalism, would the court have reached results in Griswold? [No.] Loving v. Virginia [No] Virginia v. US [No] Lawrence v. Texas [No] Obergefell v. Hodges [No]
Marshall: Originalism took hold as a reaction to the Warren Court
Marshall: The originalist case for striking down preclearance is very weak. The notion of equal dignity of states fallacious historically
Hirono: I want to express my sorrow for Ms. Phillips.
Kennedy (maybe our last one?)
To Miller: Abortion divides many Americans. Would you ever support a nominee to SCOTUS who agrees with me on abortion?
Miller: Not about agreeing with me but upholding precedent
Kennedy: Would you ever support a nominee that would not declare support of Roe?
Miller: We've seen him acknowledge that it exists.
Miller: I believe Roe v. Wade is precedent and it's important for a justice to uphold precedent
Kennedy: You made charge that Gorsuch decides cases based on his policy. That's a serious charge.
Miller: It's that I'm concerned that he won't be able to set his views aside.
Kennedy: You believe that a case should be decided on the basis of the litigants/ [No] but you just said you are in favor of the little gal.
Kennedy to Meyer: You spent a year with Judge Gorsuch.
Kennedy: Did he ever decide a case on the basis of his personal policy preference?
Meyer: No, I never saw him bring them in at all.
Kennedy: Did he ever say, hey, let's not look on the briefs, let's see who the litigants are.
Kennedy goes through other examples of litigants -- on the basis of being wealthy, or a corporation, etc.
Blumenthal now up, to Phillips: There's nothing anyone can say here to ease the pain or close the hurt and I know from having worked with family of Sandy Hook [his state] -- I will continue to work as long and hard as possible
Phillips: You are my hero
Blumenthal: I deeply appreciate those comments and more the work that you are doing day in and day out.
Blumenthal: This is why I asked Gorsuch about this and his reading of Heller which in my view perfectly allows rules about gun violence
Blumenthal: I was disappointed in Judge Gorsuch's response to these questions
Blumenthal: No matter how impartial a judge may be, every judge is a human being, not an automaton. I was trying to look into his heart.