Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Research | By Elias Hubbard

Gorsuch Senate hearing under way

Gorsuch Senate hearing under way

Thirteen months after Antonin Scalia's death created a vacancy on the Supreme Court, hearings get underway on President Donald Trump's nominee to replace him.

JUDY WOODRUFF: As for the nominee, himself, he spoke last, giving an opening statement of his own, and promising independence.

After more than three hours of listening to statements from members of a Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch finally took the stand.

No doubt there will be other smears. Judge Gorsuch hardly got to speak at all.

In his opening statement to the panel on Monday, his first public remarks since Trump nominated him on January 31, Gorsuch defended his judicial record, emphasizing the need for "neutral and independent judges to apply the law".

Two quick thoughts, which were obvious before today.

Originalism rejects all judicial decision making that does not adhere to the text of the Constitution as written, something that more moderate and liberal justices have long rejected because of the many issues they face that the framers could never have anticipated that require nuanced interpretations. See here and here. (Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY has already signaled that Gorsuch will need 60 votes to be confirmed.) It would be just the second time in modern history that a Supreme Court nominee has been filibustered. Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he would like a final vote from his committee on Gorsuch's nomination by April 3. Blumenthal is familiar with Gorsuch's past opinions and writings.

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Colorado's Democratic Senator, Michael Bennet, joined his Republican counterpart, Sen.

It was a criticism that other senators made as well at a confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court confirmation process has grown steadily more partisan since half of the Senate's Democrats voted to confirm John Roberts as chief justice in 2005. She led the way for her fellow Democrats who argued that the Republican obstruction of the Garland nomination was disingenuous and undemocratic, and that the GOP has created a risky precedent (the opposition party holding Supreme Court seats "hostage" until someone from that party is in the White House).

Another Democrat now railing against Gorsuch is Wyden, D-Ore., who penned a critical statement citing Gorsuch's stance on assisted suicide, and insinuated he could not support him this time around.

"President Trump repeatedly promised to appoint someone "in the mold of Justice Scalia" and said that the nomination of Judge Gorsuch illustrates he's 'a man of his word", Feinstein said.

"I'm dying to hear someone over there tell me why [Gorsuch] is not qualified to be sitting here", Graham said. She then outlined her concerns with some of Gorsuch's past writings that hinted he opposed Roe v. Wade, calling the case a "super precedent" that legalized abortion and gave women a right to privacy.

Gorsuch needs nine Democrats to be confirmed. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, called the blockade "one of the greatest stains" in the history of the Judiciary Committee.

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