Senate Hearings Begin for Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court Pick
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirteen months after Antonin Scalia’s death created a vacancy on the Supreme Court, hearings get underway on President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace him.
Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49, is a respected, highly credentialed and conservative member of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination has been cheered by Republicans and praised by some left-leaning legal scholars, and Democrats head into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Monday divided over how hard to fight him.
The nomination has been surprisingly low-key thus far. That will change this week as the hearings give Democratic senators a chance to press Gorsuch on issues like judicial independence.
The first day of the hearings Monday will feature opening statements from senators and Gorsuch himself. Questioning will begin on Tuesday, and votes in committee and on the Senate floor are expected early next month.
Several of the more liberal Senate Democrats have already announced plans to oppose Gorsuch and seek to block his nomination from coming to a final vote. But delay tactics by Democrats could lead McConnell to exercise procedural maneuvers of his own to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold now in place for Supreme Court nominations, and with it any Democratic leverage to influence the next Supreme Court fight.
Republicans control the Senate 52-48. The filibuster rule when invoked requires 60 of the 100 votes to advance a bill or nomination, contrasted to the simple 51-vote majority that applies in most cases.
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