President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick was set to begin confirmation hearings to determine whether or not he’ll fill the seat left behind by Judge Antonin Scalia. Neil Gorsuch was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday to begin the three-day process.
Trump's nomination of Gorsuch proved contentious, further splitting the two parties along ideological lines. Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate, embraced Gorsuch. Many Democrats, on the other hand, openly denounced the pick and said they’ll vote against him.
Gorsuch, 49, was nominated as a federal judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush in 2006. Though he’s never written a ruling on abortion or same-sex marriage, some Democrats opposed his conservative views on assisted suicide and euthanasia, both of which he voiced firm opposition to in a 2006 book. In one notable case, the judge sided with Hobby Lobby stores when they claimed Obamacare’s contraceptive provision violated religious freedom.
Gorsuch never explicitly stated his views on abortion, though experts have gleaned from his views on assisted suicide and euthanasia that he is likely against it.
“He’s very sensitive to the importance of societal stability,” Tracy Ashmore, a lawyer and Democrat told Reuters in February of the potential for Gorsuch to rule on abortion. “So if he were to change Roe v. Wade significantly I would be surprised.”
Democrats said they’ll oppose Gorsuch’s confirmation in direct response to Republican handling of President Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked Garland’s hearing when Obama nominated him last year.
McConnell said the Senate will decide on Gorsuch before dismissing for Easter recess April 8.
Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing was set to begin at 11 a.m. The proceedings can be live streamed here.