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Sen. Dianne Feinstein alarmed about Gorsuch’s originalist philosophy

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein


March 20, 2017

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, raised concerns about Judge Neil Gorsuch’s originalist philosophy during Monday’s hearings on his Supreme Court nomination.

The California Democrat began her remarks by saying she was “deeply disappointed” in the Senate’s decision not to afford former President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing on his nomination. Then training her sights on Gorsuch, she lamented the federal appeals court judge’s adherence to the judicial philosophy of Constitutional originalism. Originalism is a judicial philosophy popularized by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat Gorsuch is looking to fill, which holds that the Constitution has a static meaning. The California Democrat disagreed.

“This is personal, but I find this originalist judicial philosophy to be really troubling,” Feinstein said Monday. “I firmly believe the American Constitution is a living document intended to evolve as our country evolves,” pointing out that under originalism, schools would still be segregated and women would not be allowed to vote. Democrats firmly believe the Constitution is outdated and therefore irrelevant today.

Feinstein also said Gorsuch’s previous rulings indicate he would undercut the government’s ability to regulate and she suggested “he would overturn” the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that allowed the killing of unborn babies.