(CNSNews.com) — In reference to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a frequent Trump critic, said he wanted “to congratulate the president” for choosing “wisely.” He added, however, that Trump’s questioning of a federal judge’s impartiality back in 2016 “was really out of bounds” and compared Trump’s comments to ones made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about Gorsuch.
While questioning Gorsuch on Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Graham said, “I intend to vote for you for the same reasons that are articulated for [Justices] Sotomayor and Kagan in terms of your qualifications. I intend to vote for you because I think you represent a conservative’s view of how to be a judge. I’m excited about that.”
“I think President Trump, with all of his problems and all of his mistakes, chose wisely when it came to this man,” said Graham. “I want to congratulate the president.”
Graham then asked Gorsuch about remarks he made in reference to Trump’s criticism (in 2016) of a federal judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who was presiding over a case involving Trump University. Trump had questioned Curiel’s impartiality because of his Hispanic ethnicity, his membership in the La Raza Lawyers Association, and his court rulings.
Gorsuch told Graham, “Senator, I spoke of when ‘anyone, anyone’ criticizes the honesty, integrity, the decency of federal judges and what they do, or attacks their motives and how they come about arriving at their decisions. I know those people and how hard they work, and how decent they are. I find that disheartening and demoralizing.”
“That’s what I have said,” Gorsuch continued. “I’m not saying we’re immune from attack for decisions. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have thick skin. My hide’s pretty thick, and I know that hides of federal judges have to be.”
Senator Graham then remarked, “I just want to associate myself with what you said about what President Trump said – that I thought it was really out of bounds. You’re the most powerful man in the world [the president] and judges work in quiet, dark corners. They have no political machine. They have no PAC. They can’t go out and do news conferences. Of the three branches of government, they’re the most vulnerable. So I stand firmly with you and firmly with anybody.”
“My friends on the other side say that President Trump was really out of bounds,” Graham continued.
“But here’s what I wish some of you all would do,” said the senator. “Here’s what Nancy Pelosi said: ‘If you breath air, drink water, eat food, take food, eat medicine, or in any other way interact with the courts, this [nomination of Gorsuch] is a very bad decision.’ That means, picking you. I haven’t heard one person on that side say, ‘That is out of bounds. That is political garbage.’”
Neil Gorsuch, 49, is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was selected on Jan. 31 by President Trump to fill the Supreme Court seat previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. Gorsuch is considered to be an “originalist” (or conservative) in his views about the law and the Constitution, meaning he is considered to be in the same, or similar, mindset as Justice Scalia.