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Confirmation hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee

21 March, 2017, 11:28 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch's Views on Torture and Executive Power

The Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch began Monday morning.

The 49-year-old judge, who sits on the appeals court in Denver and lives in Boulder, was nominated by Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia.

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee which is conducting the nomination hearing. "Justice Ginsberg, Justice Breyer. were not asked those questions, and Judge Gorsuch should not be either".

"That's my record and that's how we do things in the West". For sure, judges aren't free to "update" the Constitution.

He added: "If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk".

"Two wrongs never make a right", he told the committee. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he expects the entire process to last roughly six weeks, and hopes to have Gorsuch on the court before the Senate leaves for its Easter recess.

If Gorsuch is confirmed by the Senate, as expected, he would restore a narrow 5-4 conservative majority on the court. He continued talking about the limited role of judges.

Gorsuch, 49, now serves on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Much is at stake for Trump and his Republican Party. Sisk remembers telling leadership that Gorsuch was an otherwise good professor, but that these comments struck her as "problematic", especially because she grew up hearing her own mother talk about the discrimination she'd faced when she attended law school in the 1970s. Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took a jab directly at Gorsuch, saying that Garland was "even more qualified than you, and that's saying something". Not one senator voted against Gorsuch's confirmation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, argued that the Senate owes a president discretion in picking his judicial nominees and pointed out that Gorsuch had received the highest rating possible from the American Bar Association, the "gold standard" in vetting judicial nominees.

Gorsuch has not participated in a major ruling on abortion, but Democrats are aiming to cast his views on that issues and others as outside the mainstream. What will the goals of both parties be in grilling, or supporting, Judge Gorsuch?

Leahy said Republicans are now pressing to "rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups".

"They decide cases or controversies".

"The president has gravely undermined (the presidency) and that is why I believe you have a special responsibility here this week, which is to advocate and defend the independence of our judiciary against those kinds of attacks", U.S. Sen.

Gorsuch's nomination is of particular importance to Cruz, who fought Trump to the bitter end in the presidential race and for months declined to endorse the GOP nominee.

Gorsuch needs nine Democrats to be confirmed. The other Republicans are Orrin G. Hatch (UT), John Cornyn (TX), Ted Cruz (TX), Jeff Flake (AZ), Thom Tillis (NC), Lindsey Graham (SC), Michael S. Lee (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), Mike Crapo (ID), and John Kennedy (LA).

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