March 23, 2017

Wyden: Gorsuch’s History on Torture and Secret Law is Disqualifying for Supreme Court

“I will vote ‘No’ on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” Wyden Says

 Washington, D.C. – Judge Neil Gorsuch’s work to enable torture and secret law, and his inability to explain it in testimony this week, is disqualifying for someone who would serve on the Supreme Court, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said today.

“Judge Gorsuch is a practitioner of secret law. He wrote to the author of Justice Department torture memos that the Detainee Treatment Act was ‘essentially codifying existing interrogation policies.’ Besides being substantively wrong, this assertion ignores the fact that neither the Congress nor the public was aware that Senator McCain’s legislation was being used to justify torture. Secret law is fundamentally corrosive to the rule of law and to the public’s trust in our government and our legal system. 

“Judge Gorsuch’s work on torture and warrantless wiretapping go beyond differences in legal philosophies. These were illegal programs. Arguments that he was merely a lawyer working for a client, or that he was acting as a ‘speechwriter’ do not inoculate Judge Gorsuch from his association with programs that tore at the fabric of our democracy, not when he seeks a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

“These very serious concerns come on top of his long history of hostility to the liberty reserved to individual Americans by our Constitution.  He has shown no respect for the right of the individual to make decisions about their own lives and families without interference from the state, going as far as authoring a book that attacks death with dignity chapter and verse. This is a protection against government intrusion that Oregon voters have approved twice and has been a part of Oregon law for over 20 years.  

"His record of consistently favoring corporations over working people, and a 10-year history as a circuit court judge all show he is not able to act independently of the right-wing causes he has personally supported. That lack of independence is incredibly concerning.

“Given Judge Gorsuch’s history of working to advance the damaging practice of secret law, his record of preferring corporations over individuals and his support of state interference with an individual’s right to make their own decisions about the most personal of issues, I will vote no on his nomination and I will vote to sustain a filibuster.”