By Dave Andrusko
The Senate Judiciary Committee announced today via Twitter that confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin on March 20.
The 49-year-old federal appeals court judge is pro-life President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Gorsuch has been making the rounds in the Senate, meeting senators one-on-one each day the Senate has been in session,” according to the Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan. “On Thursday, he has seven meetings scheduled, six of which are with Democrats.”
Republicans hope to expedite and Democrats hope to thwart his nomination, at a minimum delaying his confirmation so that Gorsuch will not be able to participate in many of the High Court’s cases this term. Some pro-abortion Senate Democrats are calling for a filibuster, which is catnip to Democrats still steaming over the defeat of pro-abortion Hillary Clinton.
In an op-ed that appeared in Thursday’s USA Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) outlined the case for Gorsuch and a timetable:
Prior to the president’s announcement, the minority leader [Sen. Chuck Schumer] called on him to nominate a “mainstream” candidate. There can be no serious debate that Judge Gorsuch meets that standard. He’s been praised by legal experts across the political spectrum as a mainstream jurist who applies the law without regard to person, politics or his own preferences. President Obama’s former solicitor general called him “one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last century.” That’s high praise. In 2006 Judge Gorsuch sailed through the Senate with unanimous approval. Thirty-one sitting senators were in the Senate when Gorsuch was confirmed, including 12 Democrats. Nonetheless, we have promised a rigorous and thorough review of this nominee, and that’s what we’ll do.
The committee will follow the established confirmation timeline for modern Supreme Court vacancies, with a hearing roughly six weeks after the initial nomination. That is more than sufficient time for senators to review his record.
When President Trump announced Gorsuch’s nomination, NRLC celebrated the selection:
“All too often, our efforts to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who believe they have a right to impose their own policy preferences,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We are heartened that Judge Gorsuch appears to share Justice Scalia’s view that federal judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers.”
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit since 2006, Gorsuch has not reviewed any state or federal abortion laws. However, he showed support for conscience rights in two cases involving Obamacare mandates. He dissented from a ruling hostile to Utah’s attempts to curb funding for Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert). Gorsuch’s 2006 book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia argued against the legalization of assisted suicide, and defended the idea that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
“Pro-life legislators and activists nationwide can have high confidence that as a Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch will not join those who have nullified past efforts to protect the lives of unborn children and other vulnerable humans,” said Douglas D. Johnson, Senior Policy Advisor for National Right to Life.