Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate hearing earlier this month.

Judge Neil Gorsuch during his Senate hearing earlier this month. (Photo: Getty)

Senate Dems Ask for Gorsuch's Help to Expose Secret Donors Backing His Nomination

'The American people have no idea who is so aggressively advocating for your confirmation, or why'

Nika Knight

In a strongly-worded open letter, six Democratic senators demanded Thursday that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch disclose the identities of donors behind the right-wing dark money group spending millions to push for his confirmation.

The letter (pdf), signed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), pointed out that because the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) "is not required to disclose the identities of its donors, the American people have no idea who is so aggressively advocating for your confirmation, or why."

During his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Gorsuch refused to answer questions about the identities of JCN's funders. "You'd have to ask them," he said.

"We have now done so," the Senators wrote in their letter. "It is your nomination that is before us, however, and we look to you to clarify concerns about it. You assured our Committee last week that, despite the unprecedented flow of dark money in support of your candidacy, 'nobody will capture me.'"

The letter continues:

To that end, we ask that you answer the following questions prior to the Committee's anticipated vote on your nomination:

  1. Will you ask JCN to disclose the identities of its donors in order to put to rest any concerns that donations made in secret could affect your rulings?
  2. Should you find out the names of individuals or organizations who contributed to the the JCN's, or any other campaign in support of your confirmation, will you pledge to disclose them to the American people?
  3. Should you find out the names of individuals or organizations who contributed to the JCN's, or any other campaign in support of your confirmation, will you pledge to a) make public any cases in which they appear as litigants and b) consider recusal even if the formal rules of Supreme Court do not mandate it?

During his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch wasn't only slippery during his answers to questions on his ties to dark money. The judge also refused to outright state his stance on critical Supreme Court decisions certain to face challenges in upcoming years, such as Roe v. Wade.

"If Judge Gorsuch wasn't the least forthcoming Supreme Court nominee ever to appear at a confirmation hearing, it's hard to imagine one who could be less forthcoming while still breathing. More interesting and less predictable answers could have come from Siri on an iPhone," wrote the New York Times' Linda Greenhouse.

Gorsuch's refusal to discuss his judicial philosophy and the right-wing dark money funders pushing his nomination, as well as his failure to even meet with some Democratic senators have all contributed to swiftly falling Democratic support for the conservative judge's nomination.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) became the latest Democrat in the Senate to announce her refusal to support Gorsuch on Thursday. As of Friday, 34 Democrats have vowed to block Gorsuch and the number is rising. Forty-one votes are required to prevent the super-majority vote that would end debate on Gorsuch's nomination. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) signaled last week that he would support a filibuster against the right-wing nominee, while several Democrats remain undecided, as Common Dreams reported.

Only two Democrats, the right-leaning Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), have announced their support for Gorsuch. If Gorsuch doesn't garner 60 votes in the Senate, Republican leaders have said that they may trigger the so-called "nuclear option," and change the rules to require a simple majority for a Supreme Court nomination to move forward.

Meanwhile, the popular resistance to Gorsuch's nomination is growing. Progressive groups are petitioning the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to publicly announce that it will not allocate funds for Democrats who support Gorsuch, and on Saturday, people are taking to the streets in cities across the country for a "People's Filibuster" against Gorsuch and President Donald Trump.

The People's Defense campaign, which is organizing the nationwide action, writes that the filibusters will feature "everyday Americans speaking about why they object to President Trump's radical, out-of-touch agenda, his desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, his unconstitutional travel ban, and his selection of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court."

Find a People's Filibuster near you here.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

#UprootTheSystem: Climate Movement Readies Another Global Strike

Youth activists are demanding not only climate action but also equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

Andrea Germanos ·


Big Pharma Greed 'Literally Killing Americans,' Sanders Says Outside Drug Lobby HQ

"How many people need to die, how many people need to get unnecessarily sicker, before Congress is prepared to take on the greed of the prescription drug industry?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Vaccine Equity Coalition Warns 'Pathetic Trickles of Charity' Won't End Pandemic

"Rich countries are selfishly looking out for themselves but short-changing all of us. We need bold solutions now, not more empty gestures."

Jake Johnson ·


'Do Better,' Say Advocates as Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Admissions

"When thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their home to find safety, and Haitians are seeking safety on the southern border, the very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment."

Brett Wilkins ·


Border Patrol Accused of 'Unfathomable Cruelty' for Cracking Whips on Haitians

"It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo