Grassley praises Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch as confirmation hearings begin

Denver news in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, March 15

Democrats to Probe Gorsuch Views on Campaign Finance

Hatch also warned of politicizing the judiciary and allowing the confirmation process for a Supreme Court Justice to resemble a political campaign.

Still sore over GOP stonewalling of President Barack Obama's pick for Scalia's seat, Senate Democrats have bombarded Gorsuch's nomination with hostile press conferences. Cruz challenged Democrats to say what has changed since then, calling their opposition to his Supreme Court nomination politically motivated.

Gorsuch's Senate confirmation hearings were set to begin on Monday. Graham urged his Democratic colleagues to give Gorsuch the same deference.

And beware of senators, Republican or Democrat, trying to pin Gorsuch down on hot-button issues such as abortion or gun rights. Sisk remembers telling leadership that Gorsuch was an otherwise good professor, but that these comments struck her as "problematic", especially because she grew up hearing her own mother talk about the discrimination she'd faced when she attended law school in the 1970s.

In some of the sharpest comments by a Democrat, Dick Durbin of IL told Gorsuch, "In case after case, you've either dismissed or rejected the efforts of workers and families to recognize their rights or defend their freedoms". "Now they are arguing that the Senate should rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups, and nominated by a President who lost the popular vote by almost three million votes".

The last Supreme Court nominee to talk expansively about his judicial philosophy was Robert Bork, who was defeated 58-42 in 1987. Questioning will begin on Tuesday, and votes in committee and on the Senate floor are expected early next month. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised Gorsuch will be confirmed before Congress adjourns for the Easter recess. Of course, this isn't how anyone thought things would play out exactly one year ago, when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Antonin Scalia.

While C is true for most of us, the universally correct answer is D. You'd be forgiven for not knowing this, though, as Gorsuch has fallen out of the spotlight since the news of his nomination.

Invoking the nuclear option, as it is called on Capitol Hill, would end the need for Supreme Court nominees to receive 60 votes to break a filibuster and proceed to an up-or-down vote on the nomination that only requires a majority to confirm.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said the actions blocking Garland and subsequent Gorsuch nomination "is part of a Republican strategy to capture our judicial branch of government". "In essence, it means that judges and courts should evaluate our rights and privileges as they were understood in 1789", she said.

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.

"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.

It's customary for the senators of the states in which the nominated judge hails from to introduce them before the committee.

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