Former Congressman Robert ("Beto") O'Rourke on Judges

This is another installment of an ongoing series of posts summarizing 2020 Democratic presidential candidates' views on judges and the courts.  All posts in this series can be viewed here.


On Brett Kavanaugh:

  • When asked if he would have voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh during a 10/9/2018 interview on MSNBC, Beto O’Rourke stated, “I would not have . . . we need a Supreme Court justice who believes in voting rights. In a state where you can be fired for being gay, [we need] a Supreme Court justice who believes in civil rights.”[1]


On Neil Gorsuch:

  • When asked about whether he would have supported the nomination of Justice Gorsuch in a 03/31/17 interview with the Washington Post, O’Rourke said he would not have, explaining “I’m concerned about his [Gorsuch’s] rulings that favor business interest . . . I’m concerned about his lack of support for voting rights, and what seems like his indifference to the impact of undisclosed money on our democracy.”[2]


His Opposition to Trump’s Nominees:

  • During the 04/01/2019 “We the People” Summit, O’Rourke stated, “Our next Supreme Court Justices and everyone nominated to a federal bench should believe in a woman’s right to make her own decisions.”[3]


Position on Expanding the Supreme Court:

During a campaign stop in Iowa on 03/14/2019, O’Rourke described expanding the Supreme Court as “An idea we should explore.” He further suggested, “What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans, and those ten then picked five more justices independent of those who chose the first ten?”[4]


What kind of Supreme Court justice would he appoint?:

During 10/9/2018 interview on “All In,” O’Rourke said, “[We need] a justice who believes in a woman’s right to make her own decision about her own body and have access to the health care that ensures that she can . . . the next justice to be nominated can only be confirmed if he or, importantly, she can meet those qualifications.”[5]


His views about the role of the courts:

During a campaign speech on 03/14/2019, O’Rourke stated,There’s another idea of adding term limits on those justices so that there’s a more regular rotation through there. We’re a country of 320 million people.  There’s got to be the talent and the wisdom and the perspective and that court should be able to reflect the diversity that we are composed of in this country.”[6]

During the “We the People Summit”, O’Rourke stated, “long after the term of the next president, [federal courts] will have an impact on our lives and the lives of our kids, [these are] courts who can decide our reproductive freedoms.”[7]


Last Updated: May 10, 2019


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