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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks on the front of the U.S. Supreme Court to kick off the delivery of petitions calling on senators to oppose Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch in Washington last week. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Trump's Supreme Court nominee to face senators in marathon hearing

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will face tough scrutiny at his Senate confirmation hearing starting today, with Democrats seeking to make the case that he is a pro-business, social conservative insufficiently independent of the president.

In a bid to place hurdles in the way of Gorsuch’s expected confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate, Democrats on the judiciary committee considering the nomination have said they will probe him on several fronts based mainly on his record as a federal appeals court judge and a Justice Department appointee under former President George W. Bush.

Nominated by President Donald Trump to fill a year-old vacancy on the court, Gorsuch is a conservative appeals court judge from Colorado. Cool-headed and amiable, he will likely try to engage senators without being pinned down on specifics.

Among questions Gorsuch will face will be whether he is sufficiently independent from Trump, who has criticized judges for ruling against his bid to restrict travel from Muslim-majority countries. Another line of attack previewed by Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is to focus on rulings Gorsuch, 49, has authored in which corporate interests won out over individual workers.

Democrats will also press Gorsuch on his role as a Justice Department lawyer under Bush from 2005 to 2006, when he helped defend controversial policies enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including the administration’s expansive use of aggressive interrogation techniques.

Gorsuch’ views on social issues, including a 2006 book he wrote in which he argued against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, will be discussed too.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a plain-spoken Iowan, will chair the proceedings, which could go as long as four days, providing classic Washington political theater.

Trump nominated Gorsuch, 49, to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. If Gorsuch is approved by the Senate, as expected, he would restore a narrow 5-4 conservative majority on the court.

For months last year, Republicans refused to consider former Democratic President Barack Obama’s pick to fill the seat. The unusual Republican tactic blocked a leftward shift on the court.

Since Scalia’s death, the court has been divided equally 4-4 between conservatives and liberals.

Democrats face an uphill battle to block Gorsuch, who like all Supreme Court justices would serve for life if confirmed.

Republicans control 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Under present rules, Gorsuch would need 60 votes for confirmation. If Democrats stay unified and Gorsuch cannot muster 60, Republicans could change the rules to allow confirmation by simple majority.

Senators on the Judiciary Committee, which is holding the hearing, will give opening statements on Monday and then take turns asking questions of the nominee on Tuesday.


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Robert Marchand said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 6:46 am

How can many of these Democrats oppose him when ten years ago they confirmed him unanimously for Federal Appeals Court? Grandstanding by morons!


Robert Rivett said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:22 am

And Robert. Lizzy Warren will be the worst. Or possibly tied with Schumer.


NORMAN LEBLOND said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:24 am

He Lizzy, my offer to pay for a free DNA test to see if you truly are an Indian still stands. Did you or didn't you lie to get free college tuition?


MICHAEL LANE said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

Marchand 10 years ago there was no paper trail of rulings. Now we know what his legal opinions are. He probably will be confirmed but it will not be unanimous because the Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland a fair hearing.


LINDA HARRIS said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:46 am

Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Remember Merrick Garland.


George LeMont said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:47 am

This is just sad to watch. Democrats were told Hillary was going to win by a landslide then reality showed it's face and the American people rejected four more years of Obama. Now they're determined to make anything Trump does as hard as possible like children and they think this is going to help them in the next election. It's only helping them with their radical base and normal people are growing even more tired of them. Good luck going down this road democrats. You need to clean house to a more stable base.


LINDA HARRIS said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 10:13 am

Sorry, George. Perhaps you should start with your own Child-in-Chief and work your way down to Granny Killer Ryan and Obstructionist in Chief McConnell. I have a list that goes even further down the ladder if you want to borrow it.


George LeMont said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

Linda I don't like either Ryan or McConnell myself. I'd trade them in for a new Republican any day of the week. But you on the other hand seem to like the same old career democrat hacks ruining the country and acting like babies since the election.


LINDA HARRIS said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

Nope. Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren and a handful of others. The rest I wouldn't give a hoot if they all resigned tomorrow.


LINDA HARRIS said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 11:52 am

There are also a couple of Republicans I'd like to see stay, fyi.


Michael Raleigh said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Today we learned of collusion between the liar in chief and the Russian government. Instead of wasting time on whether or not an appointment from an illegitimate President should move forward we should be discussing impeachment of him and Pence.


Ed Holdgate said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm

This confirmation is a done deal; get it over with. BTW, why is Warren milking the taxpayers just to collect petitions? Doesn't she have a real job to do?


JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

The confirmation hearing for Judge Gorsuch is par for the course. The Democrats are entitled to make fuss over what happened to Judge Garland, but such is life in politics. He'll get the 60 votes and this will be one more important appointment filled.


kevin dumont said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Michael. Why would anyone with half a brain believe anything James Comey says!!!!!


MICHAEL LANE said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm

dumont why would anyone with half a brain believe anything president Donald J. Trump says?????


kevin dumont said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Lame. Do you ever go out and get some fresh air! God knows you need it! Sorry I trust Trump more than the elite politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle! Oh Lame an Independent thought! Still waiting for one to come your way!


LINDA HARRIS said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Dumont, I read an interesting article about Comey the other from a long time friend and former colleague. He doesn't care about the left or the right. He cares about the law and the job of the FBI. You should google and read it. And what has Trump said that WASN'T a lie?


Rick Hunt said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm

The spineless democrats would contest Jesus Christ himself. The most vile and disgusting creature on Earth. Huh Linda and Lame?


JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:31 pm

"Why would anyone with half a brain believe anything James Comey says." Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave him permission to make the statements?


Greg Mccann said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Hoping this becomes stressful for Democratic senators up for reelection in Trump states. Disgraceful obstructionist Left wing ideologues. The great Ted Cruz was outstanding today, calling out the lunatic left....


MICHAEL LANE said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm

dumont YAWN!


MICHAEL LANE said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Well, if people do not want to believe Comey maybe they will believe Adm. Rogers. But I bet they would rather be lied to by president Trump on an hourly basis.


George LeMont said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:44 am

It's funny watching democrat leaders suddenly wanting to punish Russia when for decades they did all they could to stop Reagan from defeating the Soviet Union during the cold war and had nothing but praise for Hugo Chavez and Obama himself made the communist Castro brothers lives easier by ending the embargo. Not to mention how Obama sat back as Russia invaded Crimea and Ukraine. Obama also drew his fake red line in the sand when Russia's buddy Assad gassed his own people in Syria and let Russian aircraft bomb the rebels we were backing to bring down Assad. And it all took place as Obama was calling ISIS the junior varsity team and Obama was wrong about that also. Then of course we had Benghazi Libya and those lies. The one thing we know for sure about the democrat elite is they will kick, yell, scream and tell lies, non stop, until they con the American people that their lies are true. We are still at war and it would be nice if democrats helped our fighting men and women win this war ASAP instead of creating one distraction after another for the sake of their own power. There's a reason why democrat politicians lost the White House, the Senate and many governors and states went red. Trying to do to Trump what they did to Bush most likely won't work twice. Democrat leaders will only push the Independents further away and the radical leaders in the party don't seem to care that the people are tired of all the radical agendas being pushed on them. Good luck in 2018 and 2020 if you keep this up. The party has gone too far left for most people to stomach any longer.


George LeMont said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:48 am

Linda even the voters in Mass are tired of Elizabeth Warren and her views these days. You really don't understand that most Americans have grown tired of the radical left agenda and you don't care. So rather than tone it down, democrat leaders are doubling down on their radical agendas. Americans don't want a radical Hugo Chavez style government, considering how these days Venezuela is in ruins and can barely feed it's own people. Socialism is a lie and I think even the young are starting to figure it out.


LINDA HARRIS said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

George, Venezuela has nothing to do with the United States. Benghazi and Libya (ffs) has nothing to do with Trump unless you count the years of Gowdy's insistence that Clinton be found guilty of *something, anything* and thereby trying to taint her candidacy. Trump and his administration are colluding with Russia. Where is your outrage? Dumont has no outrage over this. Do you?


Rick Hunt said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Where is your proof Loudmouth Linda.Are you getting payed for spewing your lies over and over again?


JAMES E FIEST said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

If only what you say were true, Mr. Lemont. Donald Trump was the 'lesser of two evils" candidate who won because Hilary Clinton and the DNC forgot about the Democrats' real base. President Trump's approval ratings are in the toilet. Only about 35% of the people in this Country support Ryancare or Obamacare, which are both flawed. And he keeps holding these rallies that are filled with die hard supporters who do not reflect the majority of voters who put him in office, and create a "bubble" that he believes is a national mandate. He has a window of opportunity to make his economic plan work. But he has to clean his own house or he's going to end up a one term President, or worse.


JAMES E FIEST said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Everything else the President wants to do hinges on his economic plan. Without economic and tax reform, nothing else will happen. There isn't enough money to pay for it all.


LINDA HARRIS said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Um, Rick? You didn't hear the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign for ties to Russia?


MICHAEL LANE said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I could ask LeMont for specifics, but it would be a waste of time. The only reason dumont does not complain about LeMont's claims of independence is he agrees with LeMont.


Carolyn Pillsbury said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 5:26 pm

We do not want Gorsuch as a supreme court judge. Everyone that Trump has nominated to any of his administration has ties to Russia. This guy also has ties to tRussia, just wait and see. Do we really want a Supreme Court Judge that favors the Russians and Putin. Trump is history, he is going to be impeached.


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