Judge Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump
’s pick for a vacancy in the US
Supreme Court Justice, distances himself from the new president and his administration.
Democratic lawmakers grilled the 49-year-old during the second day of a hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.
The judge, however, refused to say if he supports the president’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.
“I’m not going to say anything here that would give anybody any idea how I would rule in any case that could come before the Supreme Court or my court of the 10th Circuit,” Gorsuch said. “It would be grossly improper of a judge to do that.”
He further asserted that Trump should respect laws related to the national security.
“Nobody is above the law in this country and that includes the president of the United States
,” Gorsuch said, rejecting the idea that he is a surrogate for the Republican president.
He was also forced to deny that he had made any promises to Trump ahead of his nomination.
“I have offered no promises on how I’d rule on any case to anyone and I don’t think it’d be appropriate for a judge to do so,” he said. “You should be reassured, no one in the process from the time I was contacted to the time I was nominated, no one asked me for any commitments in any kind of case.”
He further asserted that US judges should act independently and not based on the party they belong to.
“There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge. We just have judges in this country,” he said.
He further shrugged off reports of a $10-million ad in his favor.
“I know there’s a lot of money being spent as I understand it by both sides,” he said. “Nobody speaks for me… Nobody. I speak for me. I am a judge. I don’t have spokesmen. I speak for myself.”
Delay the hearing
Meanwhile, Democrats are calling for a halt in the hearing process, arguing that confirmation of an investigation into Trump-Russia ties by FBI Director James Comey should stall “lifetime appointments.”
“The FBI Director testified @realDonaldTrump’s campaign is under investigation for collusion w/ Russia. Lifetime court appointments can wait,” said Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (pictured above) on Twitter. “Neil Gorsuch is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court from a President whose campaign is under FBI investigation.”
She also echoed the idea that Gorsuch is backed by big corporations and dark money.
“I’ve strongly opposed the Gorsuch nomination. Giant companies don’t need another Supreme Court justice to tilt the law in their favor,” Warren noted.
Gorsuch is a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, picked by Trump to fill the long-vacant ninth position of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February.