President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, faces senators for his confirmation hearing, with Democrats immediately casting him as a threat to civil liberties and social progress.
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WASHINGTON — The first day of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings to be the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice focused to a remarkable degree on people who were missing from the packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room — but who will have a major impact on the result.
President Trump. Merrick Garland. Antonin Scalia. Byron White. Perhaps most of all, the “little guy.”
Here are five things to watch for during the next three days as Gorsuch, 49, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver, and his supporters and detractors testify under oath:
The president is a problem
Democrats made clear during opening-day speeches that Trump’s attacks on judges with whom he disagrees represent a threat to the independence of the federal judiciary — and Gorsuch will have to answer for it.
“You have a special responsibility here this week, which is to advocate for and defend the independence of our judiciary against those kinds of attacks,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said.
Democrats also criticized Trump’s method of choosing Gorsuch from a list created by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. And they noted Trump promised to pick…
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