Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday said that attacks on the “integrity or honesty or independence” of the judiciary are “disheartening” no matter who they come from.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked Gorsuch during his confirmation hearing to address President Donald Trump’s remarks about the judiciary. Trump attacked Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” after Robart temporarily suspended Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration.
Gorsuch previously referred to Trump’s comments as “an elephant in the room” and reportedly called Trump’s comments “demoralizing” and “disheartening” in a closed-door meeting with Blumenthal in February.
During his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch said that judges “have to be tough” and “accept criticism with some humility,” but that he finds attacks on the integrity of federal judges “demoralizing.”
“When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening,” Gorsuch said.
“Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed.
“Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied.
“And isn’t that reference by the President to a so-called judge, isn’t his attack on the same judges who struck down that order as playing politics, isn’t that an attack on the judiciary, on its integrity?” Blumenthal asked.
“I can’t comment on specific cases and I can’t get involved in politics,” Gorsuch said. “I’ve said what I think I ethically may in this area.”