On Tuesday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) confronted Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch about the fact that the Judicial Crisis Network has raised $10 million from unknown sources toward the effort to confirm him. "It's kind of odd to be sitting here in a United States Supreme Court nomination hearing with a $10 million spend taking place for you, out there in the political world, and absolutely no idea who's behind it. Is that any cause of concern for you?" Whitehouse asked.
"Senator, there's a lot about the confirmation process today that I regret. A lot," Gorsuch said. "When [the late Justice] Byron White sat here, it was 90 minutes. He was through this body in two weeks and he smoked cigarettes while he gave his testimony."
"But to my question?" Whitehouse said. "The fact is, it is what it is," Gorsuch said. "It's this body that makes the laws." He suggested to Whitehouse that if he wished to "have more disclosure, pass a law," and deemed the matter a "politics question."
Whitehouse argued that asking the donors to disclose their identity would not be a "politics determination," as Gorsuch argued, but a "values determination."
Moreover, Whitehouse contended, the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations can pour unlimited amounts of money into politics without publicly disclosing the spending has suggested the highest court in the land isn't exactly removed from politics. "Do you really think that a Supreme Court that decided Citizens United doesn't get involved in politics?" Whitehouse asked.