Coons to Gallagher (Sierra Club): Sierra Club attempted to intervene in forestry case. None of the litigants opposed, but Gorsuch voted to block. He did similarly in 2007. Why is it important for groups like the Sierra Club to participate in litigation?
Gallagher: Trump and Bannon are threatening to dismantle the EPA, with new administrator Pruitt -- it's critical that citizens be able to enforce environmental laws.
Gallagher: If citizens can't get access to court and the government won't protect drinking water, who are we going to call?
Coons now brings up case about sexual harassment in workplace
Graves: The Strickland case (just mentioned) is a good example that Gorsuch does not simply apply law to fact. In this case there were a lot of facts that were disputed.
Graves: Despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, Gorsuch said she did not have enough evidence to continue her claim. The jury should have resolved the facts that Gorsuch says he relies on.
Kennedy to McGhee: What is your complaint to Gorsuch in Citizens United?
McGhee: Two recent cases of Gorsuch's lay down a path to rule for corporations -- here Kennedy interrupts
Kennedy: Do you expect a nominee to talk about good policy or bad policy?
McGhee: He doesn't need to get into policy to discuss enduring American principles.
McGhee: His conservative backers would be surprised to learn he is ambigous about cCitizens United
Kennedy: I want to understand your criticism. You are criticizing Gorsuch for not offering a policy preference?
McGhee: He had an opportunity to present his view of democracy. Would prefer to have a nominee openn to considering the facts. The facts have been proven false
Kennedy to Hill: How should judges decide cases
What if the agencies got it wrong?
Hill: Administrative processes can address that
Flake asks Harned about effect of Chevron on small businesses
Harned: Small businesses bear disproportionate burden of regulation
Harned: That is why she is so encouraged to see Gorsuch open to revisiting Chevron deference.
Flake to Turley: With regard to technology, we have seen regulations change from administration to administration. Businesses hate uncertainty. How does Chevron affect this?
Turley: Overturning Chevron and Brand X would reduce uncertainty
We have a rising fourth branch of administrative agencies, presenting a dangerous change to our system. Chevron fuels this. Without Chevron, there would still be deference, but judges could rule on what the law means. Chevron was actually a Republican victory.
Turley: Chevron would return us to a position closer to the design of our government.
Up first will be Peter Kirsanow, commissioner of the U.S. Commission On Civil Rights
This will be our final panel
Actually, Kristen Clarke from the Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law is starting
Clarke: SCOTUS occupies central place in American democracy. For minority groups, historically the court has been essential for vindicating constitutional rights. We have reviewed Gorsuch's record for civil rights. We are not convinced he meets our standard for according respect to civil rights.
Clarke: Gorsuch's views show a narrow conception of a right and deep skepticism in protecting those rights through the courtroom.
Clarke turns to Shelby County v Holder in 2013 that gutted pre-clearance from the Voting Rights Act
Clarke: Witnesses have connected Gorsuch with Scalia, who called the voting rights act the perpetuation of racial entitlement
Clarke: Most disconcerting is that the carefully considered judgment of Congress is set aside
Clarke: It is unclear if Gorsuch recognizes Congress' broad powers under the 14th and 15th Amendments. The right to vote is too important. We must understand whether Gorsuch is committed to fairly interpreting what remains of the VRA.
Clarke now turns to DOJ, a popular subject among the minority's witnesses
As an attorney in the civil rights dept at DOJ at that time, I am aware of the circumstances that led to the politicization of the civil rights dept in violation of federal law and DOJ policy. Gorsuch had some responsibility for overseeing the division during this time.
Clarke: I urge the Senate to seek answers to these important questions.
Clarke: He takes a narrow view of the constitutional rights of defendants and gives extreme deference to police officers in excessive force matters.
Clarke: Our nation deserves a justice who recognizes that discrimination is both ongoing and a threat to our democracy.
Clarke: I am not able to support his nomination.
Commission on Civil Rights has reviewed 200 some cases on civil rights handled by Gorsuch. Our examination shows his approach is consistent with generally accepted textual practices.