Neil Gorsuch

U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Acceptance Address

delivered 31 January 2017, White House, Washington, D.C.

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Mr. President, thank you very much.

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, you and your team have shown me great courtesy in this process, and youíve entrusted me with a most solemn assignment.

Standing here in a house of history, and acutely aware of my own imperfections, I pledge that 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, Iíve worked as a federal judge in a court that spans six Western states, serving about 20 percent of the continental United States and about 18 million people. The men and women Iíve worked with at every level in our circuit are an inspiration to me. Iíve 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.

Of course, the Supreme Courtís work is vital not just to a region of the country, but to the whole -- vital to the protection of the peopleís liberties under law, and to the continuity of our 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 of his colleagues on the bench share[d] his -- his wisdom and his 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 Iíve ever known. When Justice White retired, he gave me the chance to work for Justice Kennedy, as well. Justice Kennedy was incredibly welcoming and gracious, and like Justice White, he taught me so much. I am forever grateful. And if youíve ever met Judge David Sentelle, youíll know just how lucky I was to land a clerkship with him right out of school.

Judge Sentelle: [Thanks, Neil.]

Judge Gorsuch: 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, Iíve had the privilege of working as a practicing lawyer and teacher. Iíve enjoyed wonderful colleagues whose support means so much to me at this moment, as it has year in and year out. Practicing in the trial work trenches of the law, I saw, too, that when we judges don our robes, it doesnít make us any smarter, but it does serve as a reminder of whatís expected of us: impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage.

As this process now moves to the Senate, I look forward [to] speaking with members from both side of the aisle, to answering their questions and to 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 that 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 peopleís representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge -- stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.

I am so thankful tonight for my family, my friends, and my faith. These are the things that keep me grounded at lifeís 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 I am humbled.

Thank you very much.


Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

1 White led the NFL in total rushing yards from scrimmage in a season twice, in 1938 (567 yards) and 1940 (514 yards). [Source: Pro Football Reference

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