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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  January 31, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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good pick. i'm very comfortable. >> you can say. we've been reporting all day that sours indicate it's going to be gorsuch. unless president trump changes his mind at the last second, which is always possible. but it does seem to be him. >> i was getting calls on the way over. >> assuming it is gorsuch, what do you think? >> i think it's a good thing. i've struggled because i'm so close to tom and like him so much but -- >> ladies and gentlemen -- >> he's more like scalia. he's more of an intellectual in that regard. his writing style is more scalia-ish. he's seen as writing these expansive and broad and strong opinions. the thing i love about thomas hardiman is he's more like bruce froemming than he is the babe ruth. you know who bruce is but -- >> explain it. >> he was the longest serving major league umpire in major
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league baseball history. you don't know his name. why? because tom sees the job of a judge as an umpire. he's not there to hit home runs or score touchdowns. he's there to call balls and strikes and to make sure the rules are followed. that's what i'm looking for and what conservatives are. it's going to be an interesting pick here. >> wolf? >> jake, thanks very much. dana, this is a critically important decision presumably there will be a fight once the nomination goes to the senate. >> of course there will be. that's exactly what the white house is welcoming right now. republicans all on one side, supporting the president and the president's pick, which is almost surely going to happen here and democrats also welcoming frankly a political fight because they want to rally their base and feel that -- they want to show their base they have people in washington fighting thr pem. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states.
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>> all right. the president of the united states has just been introduced. a base crowd, a huge crowd certainly watching in the united states and around the world. [ applause ]. >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. when justice scalia passed away suddenly last february, i made a promise to the american people if i were elected president i would find the very best judge in the country for the supreme court. i promise to select someone who respects our laws and is representative of our
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constitution and who loves our constitution and someone who will interpret them as written. this may be the transparent judicial selection process in history. months ago as a candidate i publicly presented a list of brilliant and accomplished people to the american electorate and pledged to make my choice from among that list. millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president. i am a man of my word. i will do as i say. something that the american people have been asking for from washington for a very, very long time. today -- thank you.
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today i am keeping another promise to the american people by nominating judge neil gorsuch of the united states supreme court to be of the united states supreme court. and i would like to ask judge gorsuch and his wonderful wife, louise, to please step forward, please, louise, judge. here they come. here they come. so was that a surprise? was it?
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>> i have always felt that after the defense of our nation the most important decision a president of the united states can make is the appointment of a supreme court justice. depending on their age, a justice can be active for 50 years and his or her decisions can last a century or more and can often be permanent. i took the task of this nomination very seriously. i have selected an individual whose qualities define really and i mean closely define what we're looking for. judge gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support. when he was nominated to the 10th circuit court of appeals he was confirmed by the senate
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unanimously. also -- unanimous, can you believe that? nowadays with what's going on? >> does that happen anymore? i think it's going to happen fen. also with us tonight is maureen scalia, a woman loved by her husband and deeply respected by all. i am so happy she's with us. where is maureen? please stand up. thank you, maureen. [ applause ] thank you, maureen. she is really the ultimate representative of the late great justice antonin scalia whose image and genius was in my mind throughout the decisionmaking
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process. not only are we looking at the writings of the nominee, and i studied them closely, but he is said to be among the finest and most brilliant oftentimes the writings of any judge for a long, long time. and his academic credentials, something very important to me in that education has always been a priority, are as good as i have ever seen. he received his undergraduate degree from columbia with honors. he then received his law degree from harvard, also with honors, where he was a truman scholar. after harvard, he received his doctorate at oxford, where he attended as a marshall scholar. one of the top academic honors anywhere in the world. after law school, he clerked on the supreme court for justices byron white and anthony kennedy. it is an extraordinary resume.
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as good as sit gets. judge gorsuch was born and raised in colorado and was taught the value of hard work and public service. while in law school he demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate. he worked in both harvard prison legal assistance projects and harvard defenders program, brilliance being assured i studied every aspect of his life. he could have had any job at any law firm for any amount of money, but what he wanted to do with hi career was to be a judge, to write decisions and make an impact by upholding our laws and constitution. the qualifications of judge gorsuch are beyond dispute. he is the man of our country and the man who our country really needs and needs badly to ensure the rule of law and the rule of justice. i would like to thank senate
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leadership. i only hope that both democrats and republicans can come together for once for the good of the country. congratulations to you and your family. may god bless you, may god bless our glorious nation, judge gorsuch, the podium, sir, is yours. [ applause ]. >> thank you. mr. president, thank you very much. mr. president, mr. vice
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president, you and your team have shown me great courtesy in this process. and you've entrusted me with a most solemn assignment. standing here in a house of history and acutely aware of my own imperfects, i pledge if i am confirmed i will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitution and laws of this great country. for the last decade i've worked as a federal judge in a court that spans six western states serving about 20% of the continental united states and about 18 million people. the men and women i worked with at every level in our circuit are an inspiration to me. i've watched them fearlessly tending to the rule of law enforcing the promises of our constitution and living out daily their judicial oaths to administer justice equally to rich and poor alike. following the law as they find it and without respect to their personal political beliefs. i think of them tonight.
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of course the supreme court's work is vital not just to a region of the country but to a whole, vital to the protection of the people's liberties under law and the continuity of the constitution. the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever known. the towering judges that have served in this particular seat of the supreme court including antonin scalia and robert jackson are much in my mind at this moment. justice scalia was a lion of the law. agree or disagree with him, all the colleagues on the bench share his wisdom and humor and like them, i miss him. i began my legal career working for byron white, the last coloradan to serve on the supreme court. and the only justice to lead the nfl in rushing. he was one of the smartest and most courageous men i've ever
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known. when he retired he gave me the chance to work for justice kennedy as well, who was ip credibly welcoming and gracious and like justice white taught me so much. i am forever grateful. if you've ever met judge dav david sentell you'll know how lucky i was to land a clerkship with him right out of school. thank you. these judges brought me up in the law. truly i would not be here without them. today is as much their day as it is mine. in the balance of my professional life, i've had the privilege of the working as a practicing lawyer and teacher. i've enjoyed wonderful colleagucolleague s whose support means so much to the at this moment as it has year in and year out. practicing in the trial work trenches of the law i saw when
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the we judges don our robes it doesn't make us any smarter but it does serve as a reminder of what's expected of us. impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage. as this process now moves to the senate, i look forward with speaking with members from both side of the aisle, to answering their questions and hearing their concerns. i consider the united states senate the greatest deliberative body in the world and i respect the important role the constitution affords it in the confirmation of our judges. i respect too the fact in our legal order it is for congress and not the courts to write new laws. it is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people's representatives. a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge. stretching for results he prefers rather than though the law demands. i am so thankful tonight for my
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family, my friends, and my faith. these are the things that keep me grounded at life's peaks and have sustained me in its valleys. to louise, my incredible wife and companion of 20 years, my cherished daughters who are watching on tv, and all my family and friends, i cannot thank you enough for your love and for your prayers. i could not attempt this without you. mr. president, i am honored and humbled. thank you very much. [ applause ].
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>> an impressive introduction of neil gorsuch. we have lots to assess. i want to bring in some of the best legal and political minds. they'll be with us throughout this hour. dana, you have to admit, they did an impressive job rolling out this nomination. >> this is how it's supposed to be done, to the t. more so than we've seen in the past. inviting the congressional leadership to the white house to do wit the flair of the dramatic. walking down the cross hall, asking him to come up.
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more importantly is it's what is done. a lot of times we asked why would hardcore conservatives back somebody like donald trump? work so hard for him? this is why. because that is not the person hillary clinton if she were president would be put ong the bench, not even close. and to e place somebody who has he said the new nominee said was considered a lion and that is antonin scalia. so much of the election was about jobs and the economy and america first but also about this. >> only 49 years old. if confirmed he'll serve on the united states supreme court for life, for decades to come. he could have an enormous impact. >> one of the reasons social and judicial conservatives, republicans in the senate are so happy about this puck. this is a page turning moment for the president.
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he's had a controversial fist 12 days. very smart for the vice president and president to bring the senate republican to the white house tonight. this is a unifying night for the president. a nice page turner for him as he tries to get his footing. judge gorsuch will have a hard time on capitol hill. progressive groups are flooding our e-mails saying he's anti-woman, hostile to contraception, always sides with the big guy. but that was impressive to come out of the box, 49 years old, very well spoken and humor matters. he'll have a rough confirmation process. that will help.
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joan, you've studys hid record. he seems to be qualified. >> he is. this is the most pra tigs nal republican thing he could have done. he could have been chosen by establishment republican candidates out there. he has sterling credentials to match anybody on the supreme court. his background as a judge is sort of mirror what is's on there. of the nine justices before justice scalia passed away, eight of them had been lower court judges lust just like gor sum. it was interesting the way e cast himself with this play about being from the west, talking about the states that the 10th circuit governs. i think he's a fourth or fifth coloradan. as we know, because of his mother ann who was many the ronald reagan administration, this epa administrator, he was actually reared here for part of
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hi life. he moved when he was 14, went to a prep school in washd, has a background that isn't like flyover state bus he wanted to play the western markers and he has. byron wright, john is right, anybody who refers to wright, who was an ox forward scholar, rhodes scholar, not a mere marshall scholar, a rhodes scholar, i apologies to the marshall skolers, he was a rhodes scholar and a great football player. to invoke him was important. >> he has an impressive record. you've studied his legal background, jeffrey. tell us more. >> if president trump makes no other decisions that are praised by both sides this will be the most memorable.
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he couldn't have picked a more well spoken, humble person. i clerked with him years ago in the d.c. court of appeals. like justice scalia, he could change the terms of debate on the supreme court. he's written a fascinating book. he went back to oxford after harvard studying the natural law theorists. laws against assisted suicide are not only immoral because he believes life is intrinsically good but goes further and says laws restricting them might be unconstitutional because they violate a right to life. also remarkable, he's willing to strike down aspects of the regulatory state and to dismantle regulations on the grounds that they violate the separation of powers. judge gorsuch is incredibly
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respected by justice kennedy, who he clerked for. this is the entire game. he'll be able to bring justice kennedy to the conservative side in these 5-4 cases. the other big question is will kennedy retire during president trump's term? more hilikely because he's like to trust gorsuch. >> sounds like the democrats will have a tough time finding opportunities to go after this nominee. >> they will. thaw eel point to his rulings that suggest judges should not be as deferential to regular ta lair agencies. this thinking could be more hurtful to government protections for the environment, for consumer, for aggrieved workers. his reference to the senate as the great deliberative body, that's exactly what they want to
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hear. i bet he gets a significant number of democrats. i bet they hold their fire. >> he'll need 60 if there will be a filibuster and there are 52 republicans so he'll need at least eight democrats. do you agree with joan? >> absolutely. hard to imagine he won't pick up some democrats. it will be hard with the red states. >> i want to go to jim acosta with a special guest at the white house. >> reporter: i'm can kevin mccarthy in the east room of the white house. what is your feeling about this selection of neil gorsuch? does it work for rank and file republicans in the house? what do you think happens in the senate? >> i think it goes beyond just republicans. when you look at his background and just listening to him, you know, this is a man from the education -- from the work he's
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done and even when he had to be confirmed with the senate it was unanimous 95-0. very few people get that position. i thought the way he carried himself listening to him, this is a judge's judge. you listen to the written word from the cases he's gotten. this is not one people should fight over. >> reporter: what do you think about the fact he's 49? this gives president trump a chance to shake this court for decades, putting neil gorsuch on the court and potentially have more picks in the future. >> gives an opportunity for america to have somebody on the court for a while. this is an individual that clerked for two supreme court justices. he understands he's prepared, look at his educational background. look where he's gone. i don't know we've had somebody as prepared to be on the supreme court as he is.
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i think you heard it in his voice. i'm hopeful this is something that will go fast. >> reporter: we were expecting a little more of a reality tv event. how do you feel this rollout was handled versus some of the others we've seep? >> i thought this was one of the best i've seen. how he carried himself. the one thing i've watched from president trump from the beginning in the campaign, he's taken this part supreme court very serious. even in the campaign he sat down a with a lot of members and laid out to american public early on who he would look for and he gave a long list. a lot of people gave him a lot of input. he's taken it serious about who that pick would be. it would have a long lasting effect on america and he wanted to make sure they understood the constitution. i think he achieved that today. >> okay, congressman. thanks for your time. appreciate it. wolf, back to you. >> thanks very much.
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pamela brown is at the supreme court. you told us it was likely to be neil gorsuch. you were right. the president made the announcement. you've studied him at laent as well. your reaction. >> reporter: what's so interesting is the first list released on the campaign trail did not include neil gorsuch's name. that was in the second list. his mother was an administrator of the epa in washington. he lived here for a time. that was something conservatives didn't like. but as they studied his track record on the federal bench, his name moved up. he came to new york and met with president trump. i'm told from sources he imperezed donald trump when he had that meeting.
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we've been hearing for a couple weeks he was a leading contender. what conservatives particularly like is his record with re religious liberty. there was another separation of power case where he said the executive branch, there's too much deference give therein and you're hearing some groups weigh in, pro-life groups saying they are thrilled as we pointed out on the panel. he wrote a book saying he didn't think the law supported assisted suicide. there are progressive groups who aren't happy with this pick but wouldn't likely have been happy with any of trump's picks. >> thanks very much. live pictures from inside the east room of the white house. neil gorsuch, 49 years old, is the no, ma'am tee to serve on the supreme court.
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jake tapper is with us as well. >> i'm here with gloria borger, rick santorum, christine quinn and david chalian. senator, a voice of opposition from senator ron widen of oregon who is opposed to gorsuch or expressing disapproval of the pick because he has written extensively against assisted suicide. >> pro-life people should be happy with neil gorsuch.
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he is sclal in maalia in many r. he's an easier pick to fill in for scalia than he is to fill a swing seat on the court. hard mapp has little paper trail. pro-life phone afolks attacked because he doesn't have a paper trail. the trump administration gets criticism for being neanderthals playing marbles. this was a great chess move. they're getting a great justice and maybe usher the way for
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kennedy to step down and fill in with someone who is a little more of a stealth candidate. >> christine, the idea gorsuch as a former clerk for kennedy might be able to persuade him to come to the conservative side perhaps even an issue like abortion and abortion rights that must be of concern to democrats. >> every member of the supreme court is an amazing mind. i don't think somebody will have their opinion changed because their former clerk or buddy is sitting next to them. there's much conversation about how the appointees' confirmation process should be easy because he was approved by the senate. only 31 members of the present united states senate were there when that vote occurred. 69 senators have never vetted
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him, never considered him before. the may not be as easy as laid out. obviously as the senator said there's a lot of enthusiasm from the pro-life community. there is as much disapproval from the pro-choice committee. he is the judge who brought us the kind of ip fa mouse hobby lobby decision which allows companies the leeway on religious grounds to opt out of providing basic contraception. he's made public statements and written in the national review about how liberals are addicted to using the court to move issues forward. he was specifically referencing same-sex marriage in that decision. there are deep concerns here from many communities. >> jim acosta has a special guest. >> reporter: i'm with ted cruz. i think there was a moment during this process your name
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came up. what are your impressions of this selection of neil gorsuch? >> today was the most important decision president trump has made in the first two weeks serving in office. during the campaign he promised the american people he would nominate a principled constitutionalist to replace justice scalia and he honored that commitment. i think judge gorsuch is a home run. he is faithful to the constitution, following the law, protecting our bill rights and i think his record will yield a swift confirmation in the senate. >> reporter: you've seep the partisanship the last several days. is this thing jeff gorsuch can overcome? you have democrats holding up the nominee ace cross the president's cabinet picks.
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>> no doubts the democrats are engaged in unprecedented partisan obstruction. i hope they won't engage in that for the supreme court. i would suggest the democrats should apply the standard, what's changed from a decade ago when they were willing to confirm him then to the court of appeals? it is possible that democrats will choose to obstruct. there are some senate democrats who might be counted on to filibuster any supreme court nominee. >> reporter: what happens at that point? nuclear option? >> the democrats will not succeed in filibustering judge gorsuch. they may try but won't succeed. the senate will confirm a strong constitutionalist to replace justice scalia. >> reporter: democrats would say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
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you held up merrick garland. president obama had almost a year left in office to have him named to the supreme court. you republicans held that up. why isn't turn-about fair play for the democrats to do the same thing? >> it is a fundamentally different circumstance. one, no vacancy that occurred in a presidential election year has been filled for 80 years, eight decades. what republicans said when that vacancy occurred is we're going to allow the american people to decide. this election was in a real sense a referendum for the american people. do you want a constitutionalist who will have a limbed, humblinged view of the judiciary or someone to impose policy preferences. we the people spoke on election day in november. this will issue i believe was a
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vital issue to president trump defeating hillary clinton and now respecting the will of the people. it's income pekucumbent on the advise and consent and we should confirm. >> which cases would you like to see taken by this court as soon as possible if he's confirmed? >> we need justices who will be faith to feel -- faithful to the law. there has been a pattern of judges on the left using the judicial road to impose their policy preferences. as a conservative i don't want to see someone doing that from the right. ain't judge that honors the oath. neil gorsuch said tonight a judge that is happy with the
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outcome of everything he decides is not a good judge. the job is follow the law. if you don't like the policy, you go to congress and change the law. that humility carc tries judge gorsuch's career and i hope and believe characterizes his tenure on the supreme court. >> some kind words for the president's pick. wolf, back to you. jo s'more nike lee, thanks for joining us. people are wondering whether your obstruction of garland over the past year will motivate democrats to fight against president trump's choice. >> there will be some who fight against this pick. that doesn't mean they'll
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succeed. this is an outstanding nominee. i've argued in front of this judge on the 10th circuit. there's no one better. he's the kind of judge that reads every opinion and brief and citation. he wants to decide each case on the law and facts in front of him. this is the kind of judge we want. >> up with of your objections and republicans' objections to garland but he would vote in lock step with other democratically appointed supreme court justices. isn't is that what trump was
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looking for this judge to reflect scalia's positions? >> important to remember if you utilize judicial power appropriately, approach the law from the standpoint of deciding what the law means. which is what he'll do, he doesn't want to use the supreme court as a platform for making policy for deciding that which could and should be decided in the political branches of government in congress or somewhere else. he wants to decide what the law means and interpret the constitution faithfully based on the words in that document. >> do you believe he will try to overturn roe v. wade? >> i don't know what he will vote to do in any particular case. when you say try to overturn this or ta case, that isn't the
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role of a judge. a judge doesn't have discretion to decide what cases come before that judge. they can't create a case or controversy. the supreme court decides the cases that come before it. they'll call the balls and strikes as they see them. but a judge doesn't come in with a policy agenda in the same way a politician comes into office trying to full full a particular agenda. >> thanks for joining us. richard blumenthal, democrat, senior senator from connecticut. what's your reaction to the nomination? >> i have deep, serious concerns about judge gorsuch because i believe he may be coming to the court with an agenda that's out of the mainstream.
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as much as i want to insulate the court from partisan politics if i conclude he is out of mainstream on issues like privacy rights including women's health care and roe v. wade or worker and consumer protection or other kinds of public health and safety issues i will use every tool at my disposal to block his nomination. i've reached no conclusion. isle scrutinize his record and ask tough questions because this court is an appointment for lifetime and we need to make sure we do the right thing. >> what do you mean when you fear he may have an agenda? >> a judge who fails to respect established precedent and the doctrine known as stare decisis meaning, for example, a respect for not only roe v. wade but all
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the cases since roe v. wade that have established conclusively and in my view irrevocably there is a right of privacy, a right to reproductive rights. that kind of respect for precedent is in the mainstream. and coming the court with a determination or an intention to overturn roe v. wade is part of an agenda. >> do you have any evidence it is judicial record he has ignored precedent? >> there is no evidence that he has ignored precedent but he's been on the dissenting side of many cases where if he were in the majority it would overturn precedent. that's one of my concerns. he's been in dissent on cases where agency rules protecting health and safety were upheld but he was in effect against it.
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>> you've haefrd about hheard as academic credentials. this is a nominee that's also been confirmed unanimously by the united states senate for the federal bench. a voice vote. no one voted against him. impressive record right there. >> a unanimous coffer mission-- confirmation in lower court doesn't mean he should be -- that was the standard applied to president obama's nominees. we have a special responsibility when it is the supreme court to impose scrutiny. he now as a decade of rulings an opinions that deserve scrutiny.
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>> all of president obama's nominees required 60 votes, so should president trump's. and i'm going to reach a conclusion after i have a chance to scrutinize his record and ask tough questions during the hearing. and he should have a hearing. i don't want to repeat what happened to judge merrick garland. that was a travesty, an outrage. i'm still angry about it. we should do the right thing here. not repeat the republicans' wrong. >> nor blumenthal, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> jake, back to you. >> back with our panel, gloria borger you see democrats taking different tones when it comes to this. senator blumenthal seemed to have a foot in either side. angry about merrick garland but saying neil gorsuch should get a hearing. others saying no, this guy's on the wrong side.
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>> and this is the decision that chuck schumer has to make, the leader of the democrats. he has to figure if he plays a long game or short game. there are lots of democrats. you know this better than i do who are saying just pound him. filibuster. do whatever you can. have the republicans release the nuclear option so they get him through that way. there are other democrats saying wait a minute, hold your fire, maybe this isn't the right guy to do that with. pate waite till and if the president has another nominee where it really shifts the balance of the court and let's save our fire for them. nobody should be surprised that donald trump picked somebody to replace antonin scalia with somebody who is scalia-like and not only scalia-like in his beliefs but a brilliant writer, not as combustible i don't think
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as scalia. he's more mild-mannered. but people respect him on both sides of the aisle. and i think that this is something that democrats are going to have to gauge right now because he's going to be a very difficult person to pose given his intellectual heft. of course he's kefconservative. so is trump. >> especially difficult to pose for those ten democrats running in trump straits. that's why i don't think mitch mcconnell will need to impose the nuclear option because i don't know if the democrats can hold. look at heidi's statement today the senator from north dakota she said, you know, she's not judging this at all right now. she wants to go through the hearing. so i think yes, chuck schumer has that strategic decision to make. i'm not sure we're ever going to get to the place where mitch
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mcconnell -- >> there are ten democrats in red states up for relex and a bunch of democrats not looking at 2018 but looking at 2020 seeing this as a way to get attention and stand up for liberal, progressive -- >> saw one on tv a few minutes ago. there will be a lot of loud voices in opposition. they'll take aim at his -- he's got a track record, a lot he's written and talked about. the move for chuck shumer is the long game. if he and the democrats decide we're going to try to fight and filibuster this, then what they've done is force the republicans into the nuclear option which is we're going to approve this with 51 votes. the next time it's 51 vote standard. when you come to the next vote it's already 51. if schumer says wait a minute,
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let's go along with this, let's do 60, so then when the next comes around we say see shgt we still have the 60 standard. you have precedent within that current senate of a 60 vote threshold. if you fight it and go to 50 now you've blown it for the game changer. >> tough decision. >> no question it's a tough decision for schumer. there's a lot to weigh particularly with the democratic base as energized as it is. things like the muslim ban and how much that really has people angered and empowered. we've talked about choice and lgbt. don't forget this is a judge who in two or three different cases opened the doors to making laws easier for felons to get guns.
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we've heard there's worker safety and corporate regulatory issues where he clearly not surprisingly is on the side of corporations. i hope this process doesn't get minimized to just one about choice because i think there are a lot of substantive questions and communities like mothers against gun violence already all over twitter raising concerns. >> sierra club has come out against his nomination. we'll take a quick break. much more on president trump's nominee for the supreme court including details on how he was chosen. we'll talk with a lou professor who knows and works with neil gorsuch at the university of colorado. and minutes away from town hall with nancy pelosi.
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the breaking news in the special hour of 360, president
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trump made the first supreme court pick. neil gorsuch, currently the youngest supreme court justice. he served on the tenth circuit court in colorado since 2006. appointed to that seat by president george w. bush. i want to go back to pamela brown over at u.s. supreme court. pamela, understand you are getting some inside details now, surrounding the pick? >> that's right. clear, that the white house wanted to build suspense leading to the announcement. you heard president trump say there, asking the crowd whether they were surprised by his pick of neil gorsuch. learning the cloak and dagger detales d deta details, getting it under the radar. my colleague and i are told that yesterday, he left his boulder, colorado home out the back, and went through a dirt road to his small airport. so he was able to evade the press that was waiting in front of his gated community. and he arrived here to washington, late last night. and then we are also told, wolf,
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through our sources, the other contender, thomas hardiman, a judge wasn't told by the white house until today that he wasn't the pick. he was runner-up. talking to source close to both judge hardiman and judge gorsuch, they couldn't tell us until today. the white house taking measures to conceal who ended up being the finalist here, neil gorsuch. >> the president wanted a little drama going into the announcement. pamela brown. thank you. joining us now, melissa hart, law professor at university of colorado where judge gorsuch teaches. joining us. professor, you have known the judge for what, close to a dock aid. how would you characterize his judicial philosophy? >> well, one of the things i would actually say is i think that, judge gorsuch goes out of his way to avoid having a single judicial philosophy. he and i have talked about this. i think -- he wisely said to
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have a single judicial philosophy that you would apply in every single case is unreasonable given there are constitutional cases and statutory cases and common law cases. and i think what people are obviously most focused on is that as a constitutional interpreter, he tends to be a originalist and tend to be focused on the text of the constitution. but he uses different approaches depending on the needs of the case. which is what i think makes him a good judge. and -- and a great pick for the court. >> what are some of the key, use that judge gorsuch professor hasn't ruled on issues on which we don't know exactly for example where he stands? >> well we don't know exactly where he stands on how he would apply the second amendment to a particular issue. he has not had second amendment cases. we don't know how he would apply his approach to any squegs say
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abortion rights that would come to him. he hasn't had an abortion rights case. people point to his writing on euthanasia and his strong convi convict, it is wring to take a human life as relevant to his per spoke tispective on abortio. not defen tiinitive what he wou in a case or take a particular case. people should be careful assuming they know where he stands on the hardest political questions. that's not always directly aligned with what judicial philosophy is. >> as you know, professor hart, the supreme court is very different kind of place to work than just being a federal judge at the supreme court. you have eight other justices. you are going to have to work with, who all have strong opinions of their own. do you thin he wouk he would beo smoothly asasimilate into the supreme court and what kind of role do you think he would play? >> as to the first question,
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yes, he will assimilate smoothly. he is, obviously familiar with the court. he is a collegial person. one of the things i admire. he is, warm, open. genuine with people from all walks of life. i think he will be collaborative. in some respects. consensus builder. i think what that will mean for him remains to be seen. i think he will seek to find common ground with colleagues. i think that is his personality. i think he recognizes parltd of being on collegial court, three judge panels on the court of appeals or nine justices on the supreme court is trying to find ways to come to common ground. >> professor hart thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> i want to got a quick final thought from the members of our panel. how hard is it going to be for democrats to reject this nominee? >> it is going to be really
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hard. a real test of how strong t progressive wing of the party is. on twitter with the hash tag notoneil. some talking, senator talking about this as a stolen seat because of what happened to merrick garland. they will have to figure out how can they balance the bernie sanders wing of this party with people who are going to be up for re-election in 2018. it will be a real test. a real test for the democratic party. larger. even, beyond this. what is the democratic party, who is the controlling -- kind of -- body of party. so much from the progress wing. over the last days. women's march. protests at the airport. they're looking for some, some, ws to put ws on the board. >> what do you -- >> of all the criticism in the early days of the trump administration, keystone kops, don't have their team in place.
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they proved they were ready for this. he started studying during the campaign. candidate trump. had a first list, second list. they roll out their judge tonight. conservative groups going up with ads tomorrow against the ten red state democrats and states trump won. senate seats. put a very good team together to help on capitol hill. broughten the republican leadship. brought in outside conservative groups on this one. see what happens on the vote. on this one they were ready and rolled it out right. >> the senate need 60 to get him approved. >> that's right. but in this particular case. it is going to be hard for democrats, to hold up the nominee. you did this to our guy. we'll do this to your eye. because they understand there are lots of fights to happen. despite the fact the liberal base is demanding that they do that. i think it is important to take a step back. note the moment for the trump administration. it has been -- very, very rocky as john said. this really changes the
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conversation which is why they moved it up to today. to do just that. >> the final thought? >> yes, reminded of back in the 70s when civil rights groups were frying to defeat william,0willia rehnquist. that's what you have. in the law you have a lot of people who will be impressed with credentials. very tough. >> nice vote of endorsement from the professor of law. a colleague of his, melissa hart. >> some presidents are noted only for their supreme court nominees, woodrow wilson. herbert hoover. president trump will be remembered for a lot if noth morgue than neil gorsuch. a good decision. >> do you expect a huge fight or will he get through? >> he will get through. senator cruz said. how much democrats want to put in a fight for this seat or hold their fire for the next one remains to be seen. >> guys, everyone, thank you,
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very very much. the breaking news, we are following here in washington. i want to go to new york right now. turn it over to jake tapper for a cnn townhall special, with the house democartic leader, noon seep pelosi. -- nancy pelosi. good evening. we are live for a special cnn townhall with house minority leader, democrat, noon seancy p. i'm jake tapper. want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. we heard president trump make the case for his supreme court pick. with fewer than two weeks, president trump made any bold moves, provoking forceful rebukes from critics many now turn a desperate eye to opposition party in congress. what is the democratic party strategy for dealing with the