Confirmation hearings for Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch begin today. We’ll be covering those hearings live. Refresh often for the latest.

Gorsuch has spent his post-nomination time rigorously preparing for the hearings.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell has promised a confirmation vote before the Senate breaks for Easter recess on April 8.

If you missed the hearing and want to watch:

How will the hearings be conducted?

Grandstanding. Lots of grandstanding. Lots of Scalia quotes too.

The hearings are hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and today went a little something like this:

Monday we heard opening statements only. The questioning begins tomorrow.

Republican statements:

GOP Senators made use of their allotted time to “advise” Judge Gorsuch to resist the temptation to pre-judge cases. Of course, they weren’t advising so much as making a point that any attempt to pre-judge a case or a hypothetical, particularly in a Congressional hearing, is just silly.

The Republican contingent seems unified in singing the “courts aren’t meant to be politicized” chorus, leaving the Democrats arguing for further politicization of the judiciary.

Sen. Graham discussed his decision to vote for Justice Sotomayor and indicated he believed Gorsuch to be just as qualified. He too lamented the increase in polarity surrounding SCOTUS nominations.

One of the best uses of time came from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who spoke to the meaning of the robe, the impartiality of the judiciary, and separation of powers:

There was also a great deal of necessary discussion to combat the notion of judicial activism. Republican Senators consistently reminded onlookers that justices are not political entities nor are they elected officials.

None of the grandstanding and posturing was a surprise to Gorsuch who prepared for confirmation hearings by meeting with more than seventy Senators.

The Democrat Line of Attack:

Sen. Feinstein talked about burning witches at the stake:

She also found Gorsuch’s “originalist judicial philosophy to be really troubling.” Good thing we have a Constitution.

On the whole, Democrats were more interested in relitigating Republican refusal to hold confirmation hearings for Obama nominee, Merrick Garland, than they were intersted in determining whether Gorsuch is qualified. SPOILER: Democrats have yet to explain why Gorsuch isn’t qualified in a manner that leaves politics aside.

Gorsuch speaks (finally!):

As predicted, Gorsuch didn’t speak until around 3:00 PM EST, after patiently listening to rehearsed opening statements from committee members for four hours.

Here’s what he had to say:

When will the Senate vote to confirm (or not) Gorsuch?

What about tomorrow’s hearing?

Tomorrow, Judge Gorsuch will be peppered with questions in thirty-minute intervals from committee members. The entire ordeal is expected to last about twelve, yes, TWELVE hours. We’ll be covering it here.

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