Sheldon Whitehouse Refuses to Let Neil Gorsuch - or His Corporate Backers - off the Hook

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) promised Bill Maher he'd give Trump's SCOTUS pick, Neil Gorsuch, a fair hearing.

"I want to hear him out first. The issue that we need to address is what the Republicans do when they get five justices on the Supreme Court and they go on a bender," Whitehouse said in a "Real Time" panel discussion — concerns he reiterated during Senate hearings this week.

"Your record on corporate versus human litigants comes in by one count at 21 to 2 for corporations," Whitehouse told Gorsuch on Monday. "Tellingly, big special interests and their front groups are spending millions of dollars in a dark money campaign to push your confirmation."

Whitehouse wasn't finished.

"The special interests who have done so well in that [5-4] extravaganza of decisions are now spending billions and billions of dollars campaigning to push your nomination," he said. "They obviously think you will be worth their money."

On Tuesday, he doubled down on his criticism of the judge's backers.

"We have this $10 million that is being spent on behalf of your confirmation. Do you think that we on this panel ought to know who is behind that?"

Gorsuch wrote off the concern as a "politics question." 

"You could ask right now as a matter of courtesy, as a matter of respect for the process, that anybody funding this should declare themselves right now so we can evaluate who is behind this effort,” Whitehouse continued.

Gorsuch declined.


Whitehouse has co-sponsored a bill for campaign finance reform (S.J.Res.5) with 39 other Democratic senators.

He also has a new book out on the issue. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has praised Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy as a vital chronology of progressives' battle against powerful corporate special interests. 

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