Follow Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing LIVE

At the start of weeklong confirmation hearings that will introduce the country to Trump's Supreme Court nominee, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighted how the appeals judge has an unfailing commitment to the constitutional order and the separation of powers. But Democrats made clear on the first day that they were in no mood to "rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups and nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes", as Democratic Sen.

Opening statements are underway, with each of the 20 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee offering up to 10 minutes of remarks.

"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. The hearings will likely last four days, with a vote anticipated in early April.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, a group that is backing Gorsuch, said the judge will need to be wary of getting pinned down on questions that are veiled attempts at eliciting an opinion on Trump's travel ban.

Mr. Gorsuch was nominated January 31 by President Trump for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The latter's death has left the nation's highest court with a vacancy for more than a year now.

Still, Democrats are still seething that former President Barack Obama's initial nominee for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland, was never given a vote or even a confirmation hearing during the election year.

Gorsuch, 49, has served on the 10th United States Circuit Court of Appeals based in Denver since 2006.

"I do think the Democrats have to adjust themselves to the fact that they're not going to get the justice of their choice, so they might as well get the best justice they can".

President Trump meets with senators to discuss his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the committee raised concerns about Gorsuch's originalist philosophy as well as his views on the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 in favor of abortion rights.

Gorsuch was all smiles as he greeted senators and audience members before the session began.

The Democrats' efforts to paint Gorsuch as extreme are also undercut by his bipartisan support from former law clerks and colleagues across the ideological spectrum.

So how are Pennsylvania's senators expected to vote on the nominee?

If at the end of the hearing the opposition's criticism remains that Gorsuch is "no friend of the little guy", the American public will know with certainty that there is no principled argument against Gorsuch's confirmation.

  • Salvatore Jensen