Watch Live: Neil Gorsuch Takes The Stand For Senate Confirmation Hearing

Tyler Durden's picture

Watch live as Neil Gorsuch takes the stand ahead of what will undoubtedly be a fun day full of protests and political grandstanding.  Updates posted below:

 

Update 1:  Key notes from Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley's Opening Statement:

On the role of Judges:

But to endure, our system of self-government requires judges to apply the text of our laws as the people’s representatives enacted them. So our judges, by design, play a critical–but limited—role.  They decide cases or controversies.  But in resolving those cases, they may look only to the laws the People wrote. 

 

Judges aren’t free to re-write statutes to get results they believe are more just.  Judges aren’t free to reorder regulations to make them more fair.  And no, Judges aren’t free to “update” the Constitution.  That’s not their job. 

 

That power is retained by the People, acting through their elected representatives.  When our Judges don’t respect this limited role, when they substitute their own policy preferences for those in the legislative branch, they rob from the American people the right to govern themselves.

 

As that happens, inch by inch and step by step, democracy is undermined, the carefully constructed balance of power is upset, and individual liberty is lost.

On the independence of Gorsuch:

And if you are concerned about these things, as you should be: meet Judge Neil Gorsuch.

 

Fortunately for every American, we have before us today a nominee whose body of professional work is defined by an unfailing commitment to these principles. His grasp on the separation of powers—including judicial independence—enlivens his body of work.

 

As he explains: “To the founders, the legislative and judicial powers were distinct by nature and their separation was among the most important liberty-protecting devices of the constitutional design.”

* * *

For those who missed it, here is our preview from earlier this morning.

Later this morning at 11AM EST, Neil Gorsuch will take the stand before the Senate Judiciary Committee for three full, fun-packed days of grueling testimony that will no doubt come complete with several outbursts from disaffected liberal protesters and faux outrage from Democratic committee members.  According to Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the panel will hear opening statements from committee members and Gorsuch on Monday, then begin questioning him on Tuesday.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has vowed that the Senate will vote on the Gorsuch nomination before leaving April 8 for its Easter recess. If confirmed, Gorsuch would take the bench in time to hear the last two weeks of courtroom argument left in the current Supreme Court term. 

And while Democrats have vowed to fight his nomination "tooth and nail", Tom Goldstein, a Washington DC lawyer and publisher of the ScotusBlog, said it would be "shocking" if Gorsuch wasn't confirmed in the coming weeks.  Per NBC:

"It would be shocking if Neil Gorsuch wasn't confirmed to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks."

 

"The Democrats are committed to opposing him. Their base is insisting on it, because of what happened to President Obama's nominee. But the reality is, they just don't have the votes and don't have the goods."

Of course, many of the Democrats on the panel will undoubtedly take a hostile tone during the hearings as they, like their leader Chuck Schumer, feel that Scalia's seat was 'stolen' from the Obama administration after Republicans refused to hold a hearing on Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland.  If this interview is any indication of how the hearings will be conducted then we could be in for some fireworks:

 

For now, Gorsuch needs the support of at least eight Democrats to avoid a filibuster and win confirmation in the 52-48 GOP majority Senate. If Republicans can’t get Gorsuch past the 60-vote filibuster threshold, they could go “nuclear” by removing the filibuster and eliminating not only Democrats’ ability to filibuster Gorsuch but other Supreme Court nominations to come.

With that, per The Hill, here are the 5 things to watch for during Gorsuch's testimony:

1.  How will Gorsuch handle pressure from Democrats to speak out against Trump?

 

Right out of the gate, Democrats are likely to ask Gorsuch what he thinks about Trump’s recent attacks on the judges who have ruled against his travel ban.

 

Gorsuch called Trump’s remarks “disheartening and demoralizing” in a closed door meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) last month, but refused the senator’s request to make the statements publicly.

 

When a federal judge halted Trump’s original order banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States, the president referred to him as a “so-called judge” and called his order “ridiculous.”

 

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!’ Trump tweeted.

 

As a member of the judiciary committee, the questions are likely to come from Blumenthal, who said last month that Gorsuch must prove he has the courage and independence to stand up to the president in public.

 

Now that two federal judges have blocked Trump's revised travel order, Gorsuch is sure to be asked whether he thinks the ban is constitutional.

 

2.  Where do red-state Democrats fall on Gorsuch?

 

Since Republicans need 60 votes, the GOP will be looking to Democrats from swing or deep-red states for the eight votes they need across the aisle.

 

Support could come from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who is running for re-election in North Dakota, a reliably red state. She was reportedly one of the few Democrats to publicly say she would oppose a filibuster.

 

There’s also Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who has said he doesn’t believe Democrats should play games with the confirmation.

 

Senators facing tough re-election fights, like Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), might also be swayed. Her state voted for the GOP presidential nominee in 2016 for the first time in decades, and conservative groups are pressuring her not to block this nomination.

 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee ran an ad in Michigan during the University of Michigan versus Michigan State men’s basketball game on ESPN last month. The ad told viewers to call Stabenow and tell her to “put your country ahead of your party” and allow a vote on Gorsuch, The Detroit News reported.

 

3.  How much does Gorsuch reveal about his views?

 

Gorsuch’s record shows very little, if anything, about where he stands on conservative issues like abortion and money in politics, while lawmakers could also press him on his position on gun rights.

 

Democrats will likely ask Gorsuch about whether he’d vote to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationally.

 

Some have said the book he wrote in 2006, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” signals that Gorsuch is anti-abortion.

 

In the book, Gorsuch premised the argument for retaining current laws that ban the practice “on the idea that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons in always wrong.”

 

Gorsuch is also likely to be asked about his views on Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) compares Gorsuch to Chief Justice John Roberts, who was calm and careful when he answered questions during his confirmation process.  But, Schumer said, Roberts went on to become one of the most activist justices the country has seen, voting with the conservative majority in cases like Citizen United.

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) office has in recent days also gone after Gorsuch on the issue of guns, with a release Friday highlighting what it called a "troubling record on gun safety."

 

The top Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat's office highlighted portions of past cases involving the possession of firearms for convicted felons or domestic violence abusers to label the judge a "pro-gun extremist."

 

4.  Will Gorsuch give liberals any ammunition?

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is confidant Gorsuch will get confirmed.  “He’s very, very hard to oppose,” McConnell told Bret Baier during an appearance on Fox News’s Special Report last month.

 

But Democrats will be looking for anything they can use against him. Question are likely to come about recent reports in The New York Times on Gorsuch’s ties to conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz and work defending George W. Bush’ anti-terror policies.

 

5.  Will Gorsuch keep his composure?

 

Both sides know that composure, style and tone all play into a nominee’s chances of winning confirmation.

 

Democrats aiming to draw some emotion from him are likely to play up the human impact of his rulings.

 

Schumer and Blumenthal held a press conference last week with people Gorsuch ruled against in three different cases while on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

In one case, he sided with a trucking company that fired a driver for abandoning his cargo after his truck broke down in freezing temperatures.  In another case, Gorsuch ruled against a professor at the University of Kansas who was battling cancer. He said the school did not have to give her more than six months of sick leave under the Rehabilitation Act.

 

He also wrote the majority opinion in a case that prevented a nurse from seeking compensation from Medtronics for injuries she claimed were caused by the company’s improper, off-label promotion of its Infuse bone-graft device.

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1980XLS's picture

Watch for Schumer to make an asshole out of himself

Looney's picture

 

Are Chuck Schumer’s tear ducts connected directly to his bladder?  ;-)

Looney

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

 

Finally..........THUNDERDOME!!!

froze25's picture

Schumer sits on the security committee doesn't he? I wonder if they is why he made the threat that the Intelligence community can get you seven days till Sunday remark.

BingoBoggins's picture

Brilliant! A true genius! 'S wonderful! 'S marvelous! Bravo, sir!

BandGap's picture

Going out on a limb there, aren't you?

Watch for Franken & Warren to make an assholes out of themselves.

Your turn!

BarkingCat's picture

Franken is a clown. 

The Dems stole the election by stuffing ballot boxes to give him that seat.

What is frightening though is that there were enough people voting for him to make that even possible. 

BetterRalph's picture

Every time this rotting protoplasm speaks it feels like fresh harvested stinking poo has covered everything as We await news of how some new twisted stinking plan to take away more freedom while allowing people to flood the border on our dime, against our consent, using some twisted logic they have made up and care less what we think or the existing laws. They are always confident they have a way to subvert rule of law like a smiling jackal as they destroy freedom.

Who are the fake news sources who initiate, consent, process, frame, render, amplify, clean, dedicate critical air time, resources, spectrum, and funds to dictate these frequent fake "calls to arms" for the public perception and dialog to be constantly consumed with some irrelevant children's tale to some extinct dodo bird's grandchildren.

~ (fake news target) -j DROP

Blacklist sooner rather than later.
Complain in their public file
Stop buying their product

A. Boaty's picture

If a judge makes a decision I like, then we call that a strict construction of original, Constitutional intent. If a judge makes a decision I don't like, then we call that judicial activism and legislating from the bench. Those who make ideological arguments in such cases cannot hide their self-interest.

Arnold's picture

Abortion has no constitutional construct.

A. Boaty's picture

That explains why the Framers put it in the Constitution. See how this works?

BarkingCat's picture

That why the federal government has no say in it.

 

I have no researched it but I think that the supreme Court decision was based on privacy rights.

I am not making a judgment on it; just writing what I remember hearing.

A. Boaty's picture

Does the Constitution guarantee a right to privacy? That requires interpretation depending on one's self-interest.

A. Boaty's picture

Does the Constitution guarantee a right to privacy? That requires interpretation depending on one's self-interest.

Vardaman's picture

He'll do fine until the Jew haters decide he's a Secret Jew.

shovelhead's picture

Or even worse...A Catholic.

BingoBoggins's picture

a comment both mean spirited and accurate. We need more like these

CHoward's picture

Just skip the charades and go right to the vote.  There is way too much to be done.

BarkingCat's picture

He should answer Each question with "My personal opinion is irrelevant. When it comes to legal decisions,  the US Constitution is what matters".

New_Meat's picture

the dem boiz and gurrlz need to cry wolf way too much to defer this circus.

DrewJackson's picture

There are possibly 3 Senators who can match Gorsuch's IQ.     They are Republicans.

 

The biggest challenge for him will be to answer their IDIOTIC,  uninformed, BASIC Questions without answers that will confuse his debonaire inquisitors.  LOL

BarkingCat's picture

Who are these 3 senators?

 

 

earleflorida's picture

me thunks thar backbiting mules...

DrewJackson's picture

Sorry but you will have to wait for Putin to hack these results and release them to wikileaks

earleflorida's picture

the people want a 'constitutionalist jurist'! not a libtard activist. Period!

wisefool's picture

Moon missions. Tax payer funded abortions. Stoping the russians for hacking american elections.

Please provide funding mechanisms for each.

PROTIP: If you do it without the interstate commerce clause you win.

ELITETIP: If you don't use the NDAA or war powers act people will read your writings for longer than your term.

BetterRalph's picture

Yeah this circus needs wiping off the map with a new circus, of Prosecution of Bengazi, CGInitiative, Email Server, Human trafficking and many other problems like IRS attacks, the monetary system, these ANTI-FA, BAMN domestic terrorist leaders in Berkley, the MS-13, violent murdering transnational gangs infiltrating the homeless camps, DSM-V science fraud, Green Science Fraud, the Oaklahoma Surgery Centeer style health care and HFLC diet vs Food Pyramid--- we can go on and on.

Old Hippie Patriot's picture

The Democrats will only confirm what we already know. THey have no interest in improving the conditions that the American people have to endure and that their ultimate goal is to destroy the Constitution and erase 500 years of advances for the common man.

RussianSniper's picture

Gorsuch is the first of the SCOTUS appointments by Trump. 

Ginsberg is nearing her expiration date.

Kennedy is rumored to be ready to call it a day as well.

With the nuclear option, requiring only a majority of votes, Trump may have a younger, more conservative court than in any other time.

Predictions don't always come true, and no one is certain how any particular judge makes his decision; but this nuclear option is truly a gift to Mr Trump.

 

crossroaddemon's picture

Yeah, I have a pretty good idea how the justices make their rulling... same way congressmen vote. They get a little email that tells them which way to jump, and that's what they do. This way you always get enough of a dissenting vote to be believable, and the squid gets exactly what it wants. Every time. This time is not different.

earleflorida's picture

ginsberg will go out like rehnquist-- doa

oar, the bitch could live another three years...?

crossroaddemon's picture

You know he didn't get this far without being vetted out by the squid. He certainly won't be confirmed without it's approval. Nothing is going to change.

Youri Carma's picture

'Senate Grilling' ahaha, this is all a big joke, a small theatre act for small Muppets.

crossroaddemon's picture

Yup. It will mostly consist of toasting each other and laughing at our gullibility.

One World Mafia's picture

Trump such a fraud, this guy will probably turn out to be a gun grabber.  

mary mary's picture

Gorsuch is Catholic.  Is NOT ONE Protestant, Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American Religionist, Shinto, Rastafarian, Mormon, or devotee of any other religion allowed to sit on the USA Supreme Court?  Only Catholics and Judaists?  Private Club with 1/3 of all the political power of the USA?  Why?  That cannot be Representative Democracy.  That is 2 political parties (Catholics and Judaists) carving up the entire country between themselves, and leaving everyone else out.  Greedy.  Imperial.