Congressman Keith Rothfus

Representing the 12th District of Pennsylvania

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Ellwood City Ledger: Republicans praise Gorsuch nomination, Casey remains cautious

Feb 2, 2017
In The News

President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy drew praise from Republican lawmakers and tempered comments from Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

On Tuesday, Trump nominated conservative Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Former President Barack Obama had nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat, but Senate Republicans refused to consider him, choosing instead to wait and see if Trump would win the presidency and be able to choose Scalia’s successor.

In a statement, Casey, of Scranton, said that the Supreme Court has “moved far outside the mainstream” under Chief Justice John Roberts and now favors corporations “at the expense of our workers and middle-class families.”

Casey said he is concerned that “far right groups” gave Trump “an edict” during the election and demanded that he pick a Supreme Court nominee from an approved list of candidates. “These same organizations have pushed for legal rulings that rig the system in favor of big corporations against workers, stacking the deck against everyday Pennsylvanians,” he said.

Saying that court nominees “require substantial scrutiny,” Casey promised to “thoroughly review” Gorsuch’s record, appellate rulings and answers to questions posed by senators.

But, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh County, said that Gorsuch has “sterling credentials” and “the character, intellect and experience to make an excellent addition” to the nation’s highest court.

“Crucially, Judge Gorsuch understands the proper role of a judge. He understands that his job is to apply the law and U.S. Constitution as written, not to pick winners and losers based on personal or partisan policy preferences,” Toomey said. “Judge Gorsuch’s record shows that he will treat everyone equally -- regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, political views, influence or wealth.”

Toomey went on to seemingly address the expected Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch’s nomination as payback for the treatment of Garland, saying he worked “on a bipartisan basis” with Casey and the Obama administration to fill 16 vacancies on in federal courts in Pennsylvania and supported Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, though she joined the court before he was elected to the Senate.

“I plan to apply the same standard of fairness to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch,” said Toomey, who opposed Garland’s nomination. “And, I hope my fellow senators will do the same. I hope they will review Judge Gorsuch’s record with an open mind.”

U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-12, Sewickley, called Gorsuch “an excellent choice” for the court. “He has a sterling record of interpreting the Constitution through the principles of originalism,” Rothfus said. “I urge my Senate colleagues to move quickly to confirm him.”

Originalism is the theory that the Constitution should be held to the meaning it had when ratified in 1788.

Gorsuch is a “great choice” for America and shows why Pennsylvania voted for Trump in November, said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9, Bedford County. “President Trump has selected an immensely qualified individual who will preserve the Constitution,” he said while also urging the Senate to approve the nomination.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-18, Upper St. Clair Township, tweeted Tuesday night that he was “proud to support Judge Neil Gorsuch #SCOTUS nomination and just as proud of #Pennsylvania Judge Thomas Hardiman, an equally outstanding jurist.”

Hardiman, a judge for the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, lives in Fox Chapel and maintains chambers in Pittsburgh. He was reported to also be a finalist for the nomination.