Tags: Kelly Ayotte | Gorsuch | Comments | Trump | Slams

Kelly Ayotte Insists Gorsuch Comments Not Aimed at Trump Slams

(Fox News/"America's Newsroom")

By    |   Friday, 10 Feb 2017 11:03 AM

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch made it clear with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other lawmakers he's met with that he can't comment on specific cases, and that he did not comment directly about President Donald Trump's criticism of a Seattle judge who ruled against his travel ban, former Sen. Kelly Ayotte insisted Friday morning.

"He is so qualified, and has met with 30 senators at this point on the hill from both sides of the aisle," Ayotte, who who is acting as Gorsuch's guide through the meetings, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" anchor Bill Hemmer.

"Certainly in the meeting with Sen. Blumenthal, as he has made clear with other senators he met with, he couldn't comment on any particular case and also that judicial ethics prevented him from commenting on political matters."

Gorsuch did make it clear he believes in the independence of the judiciary branch, said Ayotte, "and he was clear" that he was not talking about any specific case.

"He made it clear he believes in the independence of the judiciary, and when comments were made he did not refer to any specific case," said Ayotte, who has been sitting in on the meetings.

"He feels strongly about the independent judiciary. He was not commenting on any specific case and he won't comment on any political matter."

Blumenthal, D-Conn., however, said Thursday Gorsuch told him, "unbidden," to feel free to reveal that he finds Trump's attacks on the judiciary to be "disheartening and demoralizing," even though the comments occurred during a private conversation and behind closed doors.

"Judge Gorsuch specifically said 'you should feel free to mention what I said about these attacks being disheartening and demoralizing,'" Blumenthal told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"It was unbidden. He said to feel free to 'talk about what I said.'"

But when Ayotte was asked if Blumenthal's version of the events is correct, she reiterated that she thinks "it's important to clarify that the judge's comments were not about a specific case. They were more generic about comments from any source that do not go to the merits of the case and that he felt very strongly about the independence of the judiciary."

The comments would not be about the travel ban, she continued, as that is a matter that could potentially end up in the Supreme Court, and Gorsuch could have to hear it.

"Judge Gorsuch has been very careful in each of the meetings and rightly so, he needs to be," said Ayotte. "That's what we expect from any nominee for the court, to not weigh in on matters that may come before the court."

Ayotte's meetings have gone well, said Ayotte, but like other prior Supreme Court nominees he needs to take care not to weigh in on any one particular matter that could end up in the court.

"He also has to be mindful, as he is a current sitting judge in the 10th Circuit where he served for 10 years, and he continues to be in that capacity," said Ayotte. "He obviously is a judge and will be very thoughtful in answering these questions from senators."

Meanwhile, she does believe Gorsuch will receive support from some Democrats when a confirmation vote is taken, as there are many who are open minded to supporting him and he has a record as a fair, independent and thoughtful judge.

"This was an excellent nomination by the president and you've had people come out, even President [Barack] Obama's former solicitor general who has come out in favor of Judge Gorsuch," said Ayotte.

"He certainly is someone who deserves over 60 votes. I'm hopeful that is going to happen. But I know I've also heard from the Senate majority leader that he will be confirmed one way or the other."

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch made it clear with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other lawmakers he's met with that he can't comment on specific cases, and were not directly about President Donald Trump's criticism of a Seattle judge...
Kelly Ayotte, Gorsuch, Comments, Trump, Slams
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2017-03-10
Friday, 10 Feb 2017 11:03 AM
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