Murkowski Comments On Changes to Supreme Court Confirmation Process

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski released the following statement and answered questions after the Senate changed the rules to lower the number of votes needed to end a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.

“I respect the traditions of the Senate. But it is not tradition to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee – a strategy the Senate Democrats sadly decided to employ. I have a longstanding practice of supporting a process that allows every nominee the opportunity for an up or down vote once they have been passed out of committee. That should especially be the case with Supreme Court nominees. I also have a long history of working across the aisle to build consensus. However, consensus can only be reached when there are willing parties on both sides and with the Democrats’ decision to filibuster Judge Gorsuch, there was simply no other way to get an exceptionally well-qualified individual through the process without changing Senate rules. It is discouraging and disheartening that it has come to this but Judge Gorsuch is before us, his qualifications are unquestionable, and I believe we need to move forward to restore a fully functional Supreme Court.”


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Senator Murkowski Answers Questions on Changes to the Supreme Court Confirmation Process

Does this represent the end to bipartisanship in the U.S. Senate?

“Absolutely not, what we have done today is dealt with an internal rule that related to a process for filibuster as it related to Supreme Court nominees. The filibuster is still in place, the threshold for the filibuster has gone down.  It does not mean that we will no longer as Republicans and Democrats be working together to advance legislative initiatives or nominations….so today’s procedural motions do not deter me from my honest and open efforts to work in a bipartisan manner to accomplish good things for Alaska and good things for the country.”

What does this mean for legislative filibusters?

“It has been made clear, by the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader, by members on both sides of the aisle that the discussion and the procedural mechanism that we dealt with today was related specifically to Supreme Court nominations. It is not designed to impact legislative initiatives at all. It is not designed to touch the filibuster that is allowed for the legislative initiatives.”

Does the change in rules impact how you will handle future nominations?

“I have a long standing practice of looking at each nominee, whether it be for the United States Supreme Court of a District Court judge, or a Circuit Court judge, I look at each nominee, his or her credentials, their qualifications, their judicial temperament, all that goes with the seriousness of a lifetime appointment. I have said very clearly that filibustering a judge is not a place that I will go…so going forward, I will apply the same criteria that I have and look at each nominee and make my determination based on that, so it will be a critical evaluation just as it has been with Judge Gorsuch. There is no reason to believe that the way that I approach judicial nominations has changed any bit as a result of the rules change today.”

Click here for full video of the Senator answering questions.