ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2017

Opening shot: Gorsuch statement to committee to set tone for confirmation hearing

20 March 2017, 12:14 | Justin Tyler

Keren Carrion

Schumer on Gorsuch Don’t change the rules change the nominee

Democrats are expected to portray him as qualified - but unfit. As a result, Gorsuch has sailed through the early parts of the nomination process, meeting with more than 70 senators and getting very little pushback.

1 with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He begins confirmation hearings in front of the Senate on March 20.

"We've known for years, before Justice Scalia passed, that this next president would have two or three Supreme Court nominations", said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative legal group.

In a review of Gorsuch's record, the Bazelon Center found that he "almost always" voted in favor of school districts over those with disabilities in cases brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other statutes.

Though the critics are loud and the temptations to join them may be many, mark me down too as a believer that the traditional account of the judicial role Justice Scalia defended will endure.

At some point Monday afternoon, Judge Neil Gorsuch will sit alone at the witness table and deliver his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, setting the initial tone for the week's worth of probing.

The Republican-controlled Senate has to approve the appointment for it to take effect. Most of the conservative fire has been directed at seven Democratic senators in states where President Trump won a year ago, trying to push them into beating back an expected blockade of Gorsuch's nomination from liberal Democrats.

"The Democratic base wants there to be as much resistance to Trump's agenda as possible", Hasen said. A principled originalist would also have to take positions that are opposite current conservative orthodoxy, such as that affirmative action is allowed and that corporations have no speech rights.

Across the country, from Trump's announcement of Gorsuch on January 31 until last week, total ad spending was more than $3.3 million supporting Gorsuch, with just $181,000 from liberal groups opposing his confirmation, according to the GOP estimate.

And in a deft move, Gorsuch showed independence withoutpiercing any White House thin skins when a Democratic senator quoted him as calling Trump's heated rhetorical assault on his fellow federal judges "demoralizing" and "disheartening". Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Republicans would have to peel away eight Democrats. Chuck Schumer of NY, the Senate minority leader, said in one characteristic tweet on March 16. "I think the hearings will be significant, and I think there'll be considerable debate, and, you know, we'll see where it goes", Sen. In fact, they shouldn't ask him any questions that could be answered this way. That may sound like a tall order, but it's doable. Here's a good list to get the Democrats started. That would not be impossible, as some politically vulnerable and/or institution-minded lawmakers will call for an up-or-down vote even if they ultimately oppose Gorsuch.

Next week isn't the only chance the Democrats have to stand up to Gorsuch - they can still filibuster his nomination when it comes before the full Senate - but the hearings are the most visible forum they'll have for doing so.

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