Bressack: Now relating how she would discuss cases with judge while on runs
Bressack: Judge always wanted to hear about experiences exploring Colorado outdoors
Bressack: Former clerks have uniformly recommended him
Next, and last speaker for this panel, is Guerino J. Calemine, who represents a union
Calemine: Gorsuch is a big threat to workers.
Calemine returns to TransAm trucking, which was a case lots of Democratic senators asked about Tuesday and Wednesday
The case involved a trucker's decision during freezing temperatures to drive truck to safety. Gorsuch was the only judge "at any level" to dissent from decision to worker.
Calemine: Gorsuch contends he is merely applying facts of law to case. "Far from it." Gorsuch chose the definition of "operate" that allowed him to re-write the law. "This is not judicial restraint" that leads to absurd results that narrow rights
Calemine: Our union members are not truck drivers, but do rely on safety laws. Typically our workers will identify hazards in the workplace and union will attempt to protect. A recent example involved asbestos contamination. Supervisor gave dangerous advice (about blowing fresh air into space) and technician refused to do the work.
Calemine: Right to refuse hazardous work under OSHA (unlike in TransAm trucking) stems from agency interpretations.
Calemine is now linking to how Gorsuch has expressed concerns with agency deference.
"Our health and safety laws are written in the blood of our working people" -- do not let Gorsuch undo these laws, Calemine concludes.
Hatch, now chairing, will begin questions for witnesses
Hatch: How important is it for a judge to stick to the law, even when ruling against sympathetic litigants (quoting Chuck Schumer)
Tacha: Your question is to the heart of what a judge does.
Tacha: [Addressing Perkins] as a parent my heart goes out, but a judge must look at the law "as he or she sees it at that moment" -- in the Luke P case, Gorsuch was following longstanding precedent. As Gorsuch said this week, precedent is important
I don't believe Hatch singled out Perkins' testimony, but Tacha is given an extensive answer about how the 10th Circuit ruled.
Tacha: Circuit judges are glad when SCOTUS clears up circuit conflicts.
Feinstein: I gather the court's standard yesterday would have covered Perkins' son?
Tacha: I will not opine, but I gather as much
Feinstein: When did Luke make this display (the US capitol)?
Perkins: In January, two weeks before Gorsuch's nomination
Feinstein: That's quite amazing, thank you for being such a parent
Feinstein now turns to Jaffer
Feinstein: Gorsuch acknowleges that he worked on Graham amendment limiting habeas for Guantanamo detainees
Feinstein now quoting from an email from Gorsuch's time there. Policy would inoculate president from later criticism.
Feinstein says this in 9 months after memo concluding some forms of torture allowed
Feinstein to Jaffer: What do you make of this email inoculating against criticisms for not making sufficient changes to torture policy?
Jaffer: My understanding of the email is that Gorsuch believed that the administration should interpret law to ratify interrogation methods. So the question is what Gorsuch knew about the interrogation methods at this time. I don't think this question has been answered.
Graham now speaking about the McCain amendment
Graham quoting McCain is that the amendment would ratify existing law
Graham making argument that Gorsuch's legal views about McCain and Graham amendments were largely what was meant by them
Graham now asking Jaffer question about the legal standards for enemy combatants -- including 48 detentions by the Obama administration
Jaffer clarifies that hundreds have been freed
Graham: Did you know that 30 percent went back to the fight?
Jaffer: Not sure if that number is accurate
Graham: How many Americans have been killed?
Jaffer: I'm not sure about that.
Graham: We [presumably Gorsuch] have been aligned more than people think. I'm not in favor of waterboarding
Jaffer: Yes, but not clear what Gorsuch thought
Graham: Gorsuch testified that water-boarding illegal. He said this before the country
Graham: Gorsuch said that no man is above the law. I think that this gives comfort.
Graham now turns to Massimino. Do you agree that we're at war? [He asked same question to Gorsuch]