Neil Gorsuch, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, to go before the Senate Judiciary committee

Neil Gorsuch, chosen by President Trump to succeed Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday for a three-day confirmation hearing.

Democrats, still seething over the refusal by Republican leaders to even consider a vote for President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill the Scalia seat, have pledged to oppose Gorsuch on principle. But the Republicans, with a majority in the Senate, say they have the votes to confirm him.

See more on the SCOTUS nominee:

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Neil Gorsuch pauses as he speaks after taking the judicial oath during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch hugs his wife Marie Louise moments after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath during a swearing-in ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, April 10, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Judge Neil Gorsuch (C) and his wife Marie Louise look on, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Swearing in of Coloradan Neil M. Gorsuch as the newest member of the, United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit, with his wife Louise Gorsuch, holding the bible, and his two daughters, Belinda Gorsuch age 4, and Emma Gorsuch age 6.

(Denver Post Photo By John Prieto)

Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) and his wife Marie Louise look on, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Neil Gorsuch stands with his wife Marie Louise as U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump (L) and Louise Gorsuch (2R) watch as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administers a judicial oath to Neil Gorsuch during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Swearing in of Coloradan Neil M. Gorsuch as the newest member of the, United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit, with his wife Louise Gorsuch, holding the bible, and his two daughters, Belinda Gorsuch age 4, and Emma Gorsuch age 6.

(Denver Post Photo By John Prieto)

U.S. President Donald Trump steps back as Neil Gorsuch (L) approaches the podium after being nominated to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. President Donald Trump points to the audience after the swearing in of Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Robert Hoyt, left, General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury, is congratulated by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson as Judge Neil Gorsuch with the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, looks on in the Cash room of the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., Friday, January 5, 2007.

(Photo by David Scull/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Neil Gorsuch speaks after U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court as Gorsuch (R) stands with his wife Marie Louise at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks, after US President Donald Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2017. President Donald Trump on nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in the conservatives' favor.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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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.

He would not be able to take part in deciding any cases argued before he arrived at the court.

Related: Gorsuch Begins Seeking Support With Break From Trump

"It would be shocking if Neil Gorsuch wasn't confirmed to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks," said Tom Goldstein, a Washington DC lawyer who argues before the court and publishes the ScotusBlog website.

"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."

Gorsuch, 49, is a native of Denver and a federal judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals based there which hears cases from six western states. He was nominated eight years ago by former President George W. Bush and handily confirmed in the Senate.

He would be the first Supreme Court justice from the Rocky Mountain west in 24 years and the first Protestant on the current court.

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Reaction to President Trump nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
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Reaction to President Trump nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court nominee Judge Gorsuch firmly stands as a strict constructionist, fitting the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Neil Gorsuch is a phenomenal nominee for the #SCOTUS. https://t.co/qQIeFmXE3O https://t.co/QoiGqCZ2dH
His presence will turn back the clock on equality and acceptance. https://t.co/9GXzqV5GpW
I wholeheartedly applaud President Trump for nominating Judge Gorsuch: https://t.co/nJ2kxct3vM
Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the #SCOTUS. @POTUS should be commended. Look forward to a fair Senate process.
My statement on @POTUS' excellent selection of Neil Gorsuch as our next #SCOTUS Justice https://t.co/z7TNYvd0ie
Trump is about to announce his pick for a Supreme Court Judge, but it looks a lot more like what you and I went through on @nbc @clayaiken!
The #NRA applauds the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s #SCOTUS seat! #2A https://t.co/Kg1mPScg8D
Neil Gorsuch will make an outstanding #SCOTUS justice—he has a clear record that shows he'll follow the Constitution and uphold rule of law.
My statement on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court: https://t.co/rcpdTgOZ3J
@realDonaldTrump picking #SCOTUSnominee is even more tense than when he picked @LeezaGibbons over me on his last season of #CelebApprentice
NOTEWORTHY: #NeilGorsuch unanimously passed the Senate by voice-vote in 2006, w/ support from Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Schumer & Obama
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Gorsuch has not written any rulings on highly controversial subjects like abortion or same-sex marriage. But he sided with the owners of the Hobby Lobby stores, who said Obamacare's contraceptive requirement violated their religious freedom. The Supreme Court agreed.

A study by three Supreme Court scholars concluded that Gorsuch would be further to the right on the court than Justice Scalia was.

Related: Neil Gorsuch, Trump's Own Supreme Court Pick, Calls President's Attacks on Judiciary 'Demoralizing'

But Leonard Leo of the conservative Federalist society, who advised President Trump on the nomination, calls Gorsuch fair-minded and impartial, "in the sense that he grounds his judicial decision-making in the text and original meaning of the Constitution and the laws."

Democrats have sounded a consistent theme since the nomination, focusing on decisions Gorsuch has written or joined that they say benefit businesses at the expense of individuals.

"Neil Gorsuch may act like a neutral, calm judge. But his record and his career show he harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special-interest agenda," said Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

In Scalia's absence the current Supreme Court term has been less than momentous. What would have been the most prominent case, involving transgender rights, was struck from the docket when the Trump administration changed a policy at issue in the dispute.

If Gorsuch is confirmed by mid-April, he will join in hearing an important freedom of religion case. The court will decide whether Missouri discriminates against religion by leaving a church-run preschool out of a program to fund playground improvements. The state argues that a law forbids spending public money to aid a church.

Replacing the conservative Scalia with Gorsuch will not change the overall makeup of the court. His confirmation would not lead to rolling back the Roe v Wade abortion ruling, for example.

But Donald Trump would reshape the Supreme Court if one of the court's older justices steps down in the next few years.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg turned 84 on March 15. Anthony Kennedy is 80 and Stephen Breyer is 78. A retirement by any of them, and a replacement by a Trump nominee, would create a seismic shift in the court's balance of power

"I am feeling just fine," Ginsburg told a Washington, DC audience in February, explaining that she works out twice a week with a personal trainer.

Opposition by Democrats could prevent Neil Gorsuch from reaching a filibuster-proof 60 votes. That may prompt Republicans to push for a rule change, allowing Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority.

"He will be confirmed," McConnell has insisted.

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