Both Parties Prepare for Gorsuch Hearing Battle

"And for neutral and independent judges to apply the law in the people's disputes", said Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's pick to fill the high court vacancy created 13 months ago by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He contended that no matter who won the Republican primary, no one would have selected a better nominee who would "represent conservatism on the Supreme Court".

Ms Feinstein made mention of the "unprecendented treatment" of Merrick Garland, who was former President Obama's nominee for Mr Scalia's seat.

The 49-year-old judge also has the political math on his side. Dianne Feinstein of California, gave a preview of Democrats' approach during her opening statement when she said the committee must determine whether Gorsuch is a mainstream conservative and whether he will protect the legal and constitutional rights of all Americans.

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, highlighted the American Bar Association's unanimous well qualified rating for Gorsuch, noting that Democrats have previously referred to the ABA's rating as the gold standard for evaluating judicial nominees. In his opening statement, Franken suggested it may not exactly be a good thing that Gorsuch has so often been compared to the justice he is set to replace.

While the outcome is largely assured, some legal scholars say they're eager to hear what Gorsuch has to say about the law's finer points.

He'll also face questions about Grace Hwang, a college professor whose employer wouldn't extend the six months of paid leave she had taken during cancer treatment.

Republican Ted Cruz said "Justice Scalia's legacy would have been in grave danger" if Mr Obama's choice had been allowed. Every Supreme Court nominee has to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee before being considered by the entire Senate. Yet Garland never even got an up-or-down vote in the Senate, while Republicans expect Gorsuch to be voted on and confirmed.

Next week isn't the only chance the Democrats have to stand up to Gorsuch - they can still filibuster his nomination when it comes before the full Senate - but the hearings are the most visible forum they'll have for doing so. As a result, Gorsuch has sailed through the early parts of the nomination process, meeting with more than 70 senators and getting very little pushback.

Republicans control the Senate 52-48.

President Trump has lambasted judges for ruling against his bid to restrict travel from certain Muslim-majority nations, a subject that may come up for Mr Gorsuch.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley will be at the center of today's confirmation hearing for the man President Trump has nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the time, Sisk found the line of reasoning so concerning that she raised it the assistant dean and then-dean at the law school, who assured her they would talk to Gorsuch about it at the end of the term.

"The president has gravely undermined it 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", said Sen. The real issue, according to Ms Perry, is that ten Senators are up for re-election, "five in red red states", and so they may "get caught between the party in Washington and people at home".

  • Leroy Wright