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Coloradans weigh in on having one of their own nominated to U.S. Supreme Court

February 1, 2017 Updated: February 1, 2017 at 11:11 am
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President Donald Trump shakes hands with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, his choice for Supreme Court associate justice in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Nobody much wanted to talk about U.S. Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver before Monday evening, but plenty spoke up when he became President Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The native Coloradan who presided over federal cases in Denver for a decade faces a bruising confirmation process.

Here are the statements that landed in my inbox Tuesday night.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner:

"Judge Gorsuch is one of our country's brightest legal minds with significant experience as a federal judge and a private litigator. A former Supreme Court clerk for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, Judge Gorsuch has learned from some of the most exceptional, disciplined, and faithful interpreters of the law. He is an ardent defender of the Constitution and he has the appropriate temperament to serve on the nation's highest court.Judge Gorsuch also adds to the court's Western perspective, with his understanding of uniquely Western issues like water and public lands issues. I'm enthusiastic about the native Coloradan's nomination and will work to ensure that his confirmation process is fair, thorough, and expedient."

Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado:

"Judge Gorsuch has a record of ruling in a way that does not reflect Colorado values on reproductive rights. This is a pro-choice state that supports the Constitutional right to abortion enshrined in Roe and the right to privacy enshrined in Griswold - beliefs that are contradicted in Judge Gorsuch's ruling in Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters.

"What's troubling in Judge Gorsuch's ruling in Hobby Lobby was his apparent support for 'personhood,' the conferring of legal rights to a fertilized egg. He said that, 'The mandate compels Hobby Lobby and Mardel to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.'

"This is not only unscientific and counter to Griswold and Roe, it is counter to the will of Colorado voters. Coloradans have said in landslide numbers in the voting booth that they oppose personhood, which would outlaw all abortion and many forms of contraception.

"As the first state to allow safe, legal abortion in 1967, after Griswold and before Roe, Colorado has a long, bipartisan history of supporting reproductive rights. Judge Gorsuch does not reflect the will of our state or the Constitutional rights of American women and we would oppose his nomination."

U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn:

"The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court is welcome news. Judge Gorsuch's record in the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit shows that he will defend the original intent of our Founding Fathers and preserve the fundamental rights of Americans protected by the Constitution. It will be great to see a Coloradan serve on the country's highest court, and considering he was confirmed for his current position by voice vote in the U.S. Senate in 2006, we encourage our Colorado colleagues in the U.S. Senate to support Judge Gorsuch's swift confirmation."

Buck's individual statement:

"I commend the President's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia. I'm confident Judge Gorsuch will succeed in the Supreme Court because he holds sound judicial interpretation in such high regard. As a Coloradan, I know Mr. Gorsuch will take his common sense values with him to the nation's highest court."

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter:

"While I have not had a chance to review Judge Neil Gorsuch's record, I know Neil to be an honest and intelligent Coloradan. However, I will remain vigilant against any Supreme Court decision that turns back the clock on issues of liberty, equality and opportunity for all Americans."

One Colorado executive director Daniel Ramos:

"President Donald Trump is proving he is no friend to the LGBTQ community with the nomination of Justice Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. In his time on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Gorsuch repeatedly ruled in favor of individuals and businesses being able to ignore laws they don't like and claim their religion is the reason why - including in the landmark Hobby Lobby case.

"Religious freedom is a core American value that we all cherish, and it is already protected by the Constitution. Attempts to give a license to discriminate through religious exemptions are contrary to the notion that we should treat others as we wish to be treated and scores of faith leaders have spoken out against such policies - including last week here in Colorado.

"A Supreme Court that would rule in support of religious exemptions would certainly open LGBTQ Americans up to discrimination and open up a can of worms that could allow individuals to ignore child welfare, domestic violence, or other laws that someone could contend is contrary to their religion.

"The Supreme Court has the potential to shape the future of our nation for generations to come and Supreme Court Justices should be committed to upholding America's promise of fairness and freedom for all. We call on Colorado's U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to reject President Trump's nominee."

ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silveri:

"Neil Gorsuch is just the latest in a series of horrible choices by Donald Trump. Gorsuch's fringe views on health care and contraception make him an enemy of Colorado women. On the Supreme Court, Gorsuch would be a vote to roll back women's rights, environmental protections, and hard-won protections against discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch has even been endorsed by the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT extremist group. Gorsuch may hail from Colorado, but his record stands in opposition to Colorado values."

"The simple fact is that this Supreme Court appointment was stolen from President Obama last year in a shameful act of Republican treachery," said Silverii. "No Democrat should in any way cooperate with or otherwise enable Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination, including Colorado Democrats. To do so would only hand Trump another undeserved victory."

Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham of Canon City:

"Coloradans of all parties and persuasions can be proud tonight to see Colorado-born US Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch nominated by the President of the United States to fill the current vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court in 2006 by President George Bush, and was confirmed by near unanimous vote of the US Senate, including a "yes" vote from then-Senator Barack Obama.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gorsuch will be the first Coloradan to sit on the nation's highest court since Byron "Whizzer" White was selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Judge Gorsuch is widely recognized as someone who respects and reveres the U.S. Constitution and decides cases on the basis of law, not personal whims or prejudices.

"If confirmed, he will make an outstanding addition to the Court, and I invite all Coloradans to join me in applauding this outstanding nomination."

Colorado Sen. Daniel Kagan, ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an attorney:

"Even a cursory examination of Judge Gorsuch's record leaves no doubt that he is a sophisticated legal thinker. But that same record, including, for example, his concurrence in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, raises legitimate, troubling questions about his willingness to uphold the values we hold dear in Colorado. The U.S. Senate owes it to the people that Judge Gorsuch's nomination be thoughtfully questioned, thoroughly vetted, and considered without haste. I urge the Senate to proceed with the utmost caution, lest our freedoms be imperiled for a generation."

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