Bitter partisanship marked the start of Senate confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick on Monday, as Democrats angrily condemned Republicans for refusing to act on Barack Obama's nominee a year ago and Republicans accused Democrats of playing politics.
Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred to the unanimous confirmation vote the late Justice Antonin Scalia received in 1986 and the almost unanimous vote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg received in 1993.
Ted Cruz of Texas criticized Senate Democrats who promised to ask Judge Neil Gorsuch about President Donald Trump's most controversial comments and policies during confirmation hearings this week.
Gorsuch, if elevated, would become the youngest justice since 43-year-old Clarence Thomas joined the court in 1991.
A man of impeccable credentials, universal admiration and traditional legal values, Judge Neil Gorsuch has consistently employed the same principled approach to interpreting the law as the man he has been nominated to replace.
"I want to hear from you why Mr. Priebus would say that", Durbin said to Gorsuch.
Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was "confident" that Gorsuch would get the 60 votes necessary for confirmation.
"Sometimes it's the individual who will win, sometimes it's the little guy, sometimes it's not", Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah said on the Bloomberg Law radio show Thursday. Trump has said Gorsuch, who cites Scalia as an inspiration, "has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support". According to the student, Jennifer Sisk, Gorsuch suggested that companies ask female applicants about whether they plan to have children in order to protect themselves.
"The nominee before us today is not President Trump", said Sen. "If I conclude this one is outside the mainstream, I will use every tool at my disposal and I think my Democratic colleagues share that view", Sen.
The hearing will last four days, from Monday through Thursday.
Past Supreme Court decisions to strike down bans on gay sex and legalize same-sex marriage were based on an evolving view of who is protected by the Constitution, the letter continues.
Monday, leading organizations on the left, including MoveOn, UltraViolet, DailyKos, NARAL Pro-Choice America and others sent an email to their millions of members asking them to demand that Democrats filibuster any vote to confirm Gorsuch.
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.
The concern for Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is not just Mr Gorsuch's decision history but the influence of Mr Trump on him.
A response from the person aiding in the Gorsuch nomination process also said that Sisk's claims were false and came from a misunderstanding of the hypothetical discussion question. However, through an audacious and historically unprecedented act of grand theft judiciary, the Republicans stole the seat out from under the Democrats and now have the chance to put a radical, young conservative on the Court for the next several decades.