Thursday, March 23, 2017

SUPREME COURT_ Supreme Court nomination committee gear up for the fourth day of hearings



Supreme Court nomination committee gear up for the fourth day of hearings

Published March 23, 2017

VIDEO: Democrats still hint at delaying votes on Judge Gorsuch

The Supreme Court nomination committee will reconvene on Thursday and hear from outside witnesses about their opinion on whether Judge Neil Gorsuch should be confirmed.

Gorsuch, who faced two days of intense questioning from Democrats, will be on Capitol Hill but he will be in a seperate room.

Gorsuch finished his testimony on Wednesday to glowing reviews by Republicans, while Democrats turned up the heat in hopes that the President Trump nominee would stumble.

Gorsuch refused repeated attempts to get him to talk about key legal and political issues. Gorsuch told Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.-- who is worried that he would vote to restrict abortion-- that "no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days."

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in a case involving learning-disabled students, overturning a standard for special education that Gorsuch had endorsed in an earlier case on the same topic.

Gorsuch said he was bound by an earlier decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and said: "If anyone is suggesting that I like the result where an autistic child happens to lose, it's a heartbreaking accusation."

Every time Democrats tried to draw him out on a range of serious issues, including abortion and gay rights, Gorsuch answered in the same way: "I have declined to offer any promises, hints or previews of how I'd resolve any case." Gorsuch similarly wouldn't commit to a view on cameras in the Supreme Court, despite widespread support from senators on the Judiciary Committee.

He was sticking to the common practice of high court nominees to resist all requests to say how they feel about Supreme Court decisions.

Republicans, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the Colorado native. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he hadn't seen a better nominee in 40 years in the Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., lamented what he called the deterioration of the Senate confirmation process since Antonin Scalia, whose seat Gorsuch would fill, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were confirmed with more than 90 votes each.

"What's happened? Did the Constitution change? I don't think so, I think politics has changed. I think it's changed in a fashion that we should all be ashamed of as senators, and I think we're doing great damage to the judiciary by politicizing every judicial nomination," Graham said.

A committee vote is expected April 3, with a Senate floor vote later that same week. Republicans control the Senate 52-48, so it would require eight Democrats to move Gorsuch past procedural hurdles that require 60 votes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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