The confirmation process for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, was set to begin Monday. He's set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, marking the first day of a three-day hearing process.
Democratic lawmakers—still frustrated by Republicans' refusal to even hold hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia—could make the hearings for Gorsuch contentious. It's widely expected, however, that Trump's nominee will eventually be confirmed. Republicans have said they have the votes necessary in the Senate.
"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. "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 has proven a staunch conservative and recently sided with the owners of the Hobby Lobby stores who claimed that contraceptive requirements in the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, went against their religious freedom. A study performed by legal scholars determined that the 49-year-old's ideology is in line with that of his predecessor Scalia, a favorite among conservatives.
"Judge Gorsuch may act like a neutral, calm judge, but his record and his career clearly show that he harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate special-interest agenda," said Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in a news conference. "He expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful, but when it comes time to rule, when the chips are down, far too often he sides with the powerful few over everyday Americans trying to just get a fair shake."
Republicans have pointed to Gorsuch's pedigree—he graduated alongside Obama from Harvard Law School—and the fact that Democrats approved him easily for a judge position in 2006.
The first day of hearings is expected to be relatively low-key, a chance for Gorsuch to make an impression on lawmakers. The judge has been preparing for weeks and has met with 72 senators, his team told The New York Times.
You can watch the hearing on C-SPAN here. The event is scheduled to being airing at 11 a.m. EDT.
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