Trump Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch faces Senate hearing

Most Democrats are intent on digging in their heels to oppose Gorsuch, both on ideological grounds and in retaliation against Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee previous year to replace Scalia.

Observers expect other Democrats to battle hard against Gorsuch's confirmation, in part because Republicans blocked President Obama's lame-duck nomination of Merrick Garland to the court.

So what to make of former Arkansas governor and perennial Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's suggestion last week that President Trump simply ignore the federal courts blocking his travel bans and do as he wishes?

"The independence of the judiciary is more important thatn ever, and your defense of it is critical", Blumenthal said at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Monday as the panel began Gorsuch's confirmation hearings. In statements praising him after the nomination, key Republican lawmakers also highlighted what they called his close reading of text of the law. We deserve to know who is being appointed to the Supreme Court, and whether they will be an effective and independent justice, in addition to ruling to uphold the Constitution. The Democrat also noted Gorsuch was nominated by Trump, who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

Another Democrat, U.S. Sen.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate.

The groups note that Gorsuch, a member of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has claimed to be an originalist - a legal view that interpretations of the Constitution should be fixed, based on their original intent.

Where does Gorsuch stand on key issues like abortion, gay rights, and gun laws?

Neil Gorsuch, who is nominated to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, faces opposition from many disability advocates.

Had Garland been confirmed, the court would have leaned to the left for the first time in decades.

However, she did say that Mr Gorsuch, a former clerk for Mr Kennedy, is seen as a "Kennedy whisperer" in some circles and could get the elderly judge to retire, which open another seat for Mr Trump to fill. Democrats will be looking for how much Gorsuch is willing to separate himself from the president on contentious issues like the legality of the Trump administration's travel restrictions from six Muslim-majority countries. We will learn more during the Senate confirmation hearings. Even Mr Graham pointed out he has "never been disappointed" with Ms Kagan or Ms Sotomayor because of that.

"I don't recall ever seeing a corporation in the pews of Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago", Durbin said.

Gorsuch's hearing is expected to last until Thursday.

Democrats also will press Gorsuch on his role as a Justice Department lawyer under Bush from 2005 to 2006, when he helped defend contentious policies enacted after the September 11, 2001 attacks, including the administration's expansive use of interrogation techniques that critics called torture.

Congressional Democrats have been facing major pressure from the left, as the Times notes, to exact revenge for the Republicans' unprecedented obstruction of Garland's nomination past year, and it remains to be seen if they have the will to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination.

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