Carper Statement on Extreme GOP Move to Lower Threshold for Supreme Court Nominees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement today after Senate Republicans invoked the so-called “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and remove the filibuster from consideration of nominees to serve lifetime appointments on the Supreme Court.

“For an entire year, my Republican colleagues denied President Obama’s nominee to serve on the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing and a vote. Many of them refused to even meet with Judge Garland, one of the most respected and well-qualified judges in the country. Senate Democrats did not follow this radical approach. President Trump’s nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, received a speedy hearing in the Judiciary Committee. Democrats met with Judge Gorsuch in large numbers. And today, Judge Gorsuch received a vote. Ultimately, Judge Gorsuch did not receive the 60 votes necessary to proceed to end debate on his nomination.

“I opposed Judge Gorsuch’s nomination for many reasons. First and foremost, we cannot pretend that the cruelty toward Judge Garland’s nomination didn’t happen. In my view, Judge Garland is still entitled to a hearing, a vote, and a seat on the Supreme Court. Next, Judge Gorsuch’s own record suggests his views are outside the political and judicial mainstream. Those views deserved to be debated for more than 30 hours on the Senate floor. And finally, the president’s campaign is under an active FBI investigation to determine whether Trump campaign officials worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

“These are unprecedented circumstances under which to consider a 49-year old judge for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. I believe we have rushed to judgment when we had the benefit of taking our time. Time would afford us the opportunity to right the historic wrong done to Judge Garland. Time would allow the FBI to finish its investigation into the Trump campaign. But, my Republican friends did not share this view and invoked the so-called ‘nuclear option’ to change the rules of the Senate.

“What a mistake.

“My Republican colleagues’ yearlong blockade of Judge Garland’s nomination was a shameful chapter for the United States Senate, an institution in which I have been proud to serve since 2001. Today’s partisan vote to change the rules to put Judge Gorsuch on the bench was the culmination of that shameful chapter and a sad day in the history of the Senate.

“Despite yet another setback for bipartisanship, compromise, and consensus building, I’m not giving up the fight for the people of Delaware in the United States Senate. We may have been knocked down, but we’re not out. There’s too much work to be done.”