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What's ahead for the Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings

20 March 2017, 09:40 | Taylor George

Senators on the Judiciary Committee, which is holding the hearing, will give opening statements on Monday and then take turns asking questions of the nominee on Tuesday.

"It would be shocking if Neil Gorsuch wasn't confirmed to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks", Tom Goldstein, publisher of the ScotusBlog website, told NBC News.

How does the confirmation process work?

To force an end to a filibuster there has to be a vote for cloture, which would limit the time left for debate. Cruz defended the Garland blockade Monday, saying it was in keeping with the Senate's history of not filling a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year. Grassley won reelection with 60 percent of the vote.

Graham also applauded Gorsuch's educational background and said that he should be proud of the way he's handled himself on the court.

"They're demagoguing on the facts of the case rather than legal realities", she said. But he expects the vote to be held over a week, as committee rules allow any member to push it back.

Failing that might lead to the nuclear option. They'd rather not go this route.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing Democrats to obstruct the nomination. "A Democratic filibuster will not succeed".

Why is this such a battle?

There are nine justices and they are generally viewed as either liberal or conservative. They describe Gorsuch as thoughtful, considerate and fair-minded. The next Supreme Court justice will help determine whether our courts will serve the interests of all of us or bend to the will of the powerful moneyed few who helped place them on the court.

Republicans control the Senate 52-48. The political calculation paid off when Trump won. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, promised to oppose Gorsuch's nomination "relentlessly" if Gorsuch doesn't "reject Trump's litmus test". Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) in Gorsuch's home state.

What's the line of attack from Democrats?

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Ms Perry said that though he is a conservative judge, Mr Gorsuch would be a "one for one" for Mr Scalia, known for his strict and politically conservative interpretation of the US Constitution. He took his company to court after he was sacked in 2009 for abandoning his trailer in subzero temperatures while waiting for a fix. At 49, he is among the youngest Supreme Court nominees ever and could have a strong presence on the court for decades.

"So Donald Trump deserves to be congratulated for listening to a lot of people and coming up with what I think is the best choice available to a Republican president in terms of nominating someone who is going to keep the conservative philosophy alive and well on the court", Graham said.

How will Republicans defend Gorsuch?

Republicans will uniformly praise Gorsuch.

Republicans said that would have left Justice Scalia's legacy "in grave danger" and handed the democratic process to "five unelected lawyers".

How has Gorsuch prepared for the hearing?

The first was whether Mr Gorsuch would be too close to Mr Trump. He met privately with 72 senators.

He reviewed his rulings to refresh his memory, knowing he'll be asked to explain and even defend some of them.

"I also have serious concerns about Judge Gorsuch's clear record of siding with corporations and big business over workers", Murray said. Bob Casey and Republican Sen. But the GOP-controlled Senate is expected to confirm Gorsuch later this spring.

What's at stake for Trump?

And others will use the hearings to raise concerns about the direction of the Roberts Court in the Trump Era, given the large array of critical issues that could soon come before SCOTUS, including some that were stalled previous year due to a deadlocked Court awaiting Scalia's replacement.



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