Today, each of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 20 members will have 30 minutes to ask questions of Judge Gorsuch. Interested readers may view the hearing live or recorded at the Committee’s website. Copies of Judge Gorsuch’s responses to written questions and other written submissions are available here for those who want to read them.
Rather than try to provide play by play coverage today, we will attempt below to preview the types of questions Judge Gorsuch will face, and then through the day give updates on how he is answering them. Depending on how late the hearing goes today (Chairman Grassley expects 10 hours of questioning in just the first round, which he would like to complete today), we will try to post a round up at the end of the day.
Preview: three categories of questions
Our emphasis here is on questions from those hostile to or skeptical of Gorsuch’s nomination (at this point, all of them Democrat members of the Committee):
First of all, expect several Senators to ask Gorsuch for his view of various prior Supreme Court decisions, mainly those on topics like abortion, corporate rights, the right to bear arms, and voting rights. The purpose of this type of question is generally to create expectations about the nominee among those who oppose him, either that he would be reluctant to rely on abortion precedents like Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, or that he would embrace First and Second Amendment decisions like Citizens United and Heller.
Second, expect many questions about the opinions that Gorsuch has written as a Tenth Circuit Judge. These will likely be a few cherry-picked and misrepresented decisions used to try to paint the judge as heartless toward “the little guy” and beholden to corporations. Our updates today will try to focus on what these cases are, and what really happened in them.
Finally, expect Senators on both sides of the aisle to ask the judge to reassure them that he is not beholden to President Trump in a way that rigs the outcome of various cases pending now or in the future against the President.