Townhall reports that in 2006, while discussing the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Feinstein opposed a filibuster because she “might disagree” with him.
Feinstein said at the time, “I do not see the likelihood of a filibuster, to be very candid with you. I don’t see those kinds of egregious things emerging that would justify a filibuster.”
“And I think when it comes to filibustering a Supreme Court appointment, you really have to have something out there–whether it’s gross moral turpitude or something that comes to the surface. Now, I mean, this is a man I might disagree with. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on the court,” she continued.
In a statement on her website detailing her opposition to Gorsuch’s nomination, however, Feinstein wrote that she explicitly opposes Gorsuch because she “hoped [he] would better explain his judicial philosophies and personal views at this hearing.”
During her opening remarks at the Senate Judiciary Committee and in her statement on her website, Feinstein wrote that she opposes Gorsuch because she is not aware of how he personally feels about legal issues, regardless of whether they are set legal precedent:
[…] I had hoped Judge Gorsuch would better explain his judicial philosophies and personal views at this hearing.
But that did not happen.
Judge Gorsuch’s views were difficult to discern because he refused to answer many questions—even basic questions that have been answered by previous nominees.
For example, Senator Blumenthal asked the judge if he agreed with the results of Brown v. the Board of Education, one of the most important cases in our history—I think everyone would agree. Rather than agreeing that schools shouldn’t be segregated, Judge Gorsuch instead said it was, quote, “the correct application of precedent,” end quote.
To be clear, when asked if he supported Brown, Judge Gorsuch refused to directly answer.
In another exchange, Senator Franken asked about a wave of recent laws to restrict access to voting. These laws were found to target African Americans with “surgical precision”.
Senator Franken discussed the effect of these laws, but he simply asked if Judge Gorsuch was disturbed by efforts to disenfranchise African-American voters. The question has but one easy answer—and it’s yes.
Yet, instead of agreeing, Judge Gorsuch ducked the question. He responded, and I quote, “If there are allegations of racism in legislation in the voting area, there are a variety of remedies,” end quote.
Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch’s answers were so diluted with ambiguity, one could not see where he stood, even on big and long-settled cases.
So because Gorsuch would not explain his personal feelings on long-standing precedent because they’re considered the law of the land and not up for debate, Feinstein is opposing Gorsuch’s nomination because she “might” disagree with him.