**Click here for a photo of Heitkamp meeting with Gorsuch in February**
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced she will vote for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“As I said after Judge Garland was nominated and I’ve continued to say since Judge Gorsuch was nominated, one of the most important roles of a U.S. senator is to vet nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court and I take that job very seriously,” said Heitkamp. “After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation. He has a record as a balanced, meticulous, and well respected jurist who understands the rule of law. He has unique and critical experience with tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and public lands issues in the west, and has received the endorsement of numerous tribes and major Native American organizations. During our meeting and at his hearing, he reinforced the importance of a judiciary that remains independent of the executive and legislative branches of government – and that acts as a proper check and balance on the other two branches of government. I expect him to follow through on that critical tenet.
“This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland. Senate Republicans played politics at its worst with an honorable, deeply qualified jurist – arguably the most well qualified nominee in modern history – who had long been supported by Republican and Democratic senators for his unmatched experience. His reward: Republicans refused to give him the fair consideration he deserved – not even a hearing – and his nomination was held open for almost 300 days – by far the longest for a Supreme Court nomination. But I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. There isn’t a perfect judge. Regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics.”