Sen. Feinstein 'deeply disappointed' that Merrick Garland never got Supreme Court hearing

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The U.S. Senate is holding its first confirmation hearing Monday for Neil Gorsuch, the judge nominated by President Donald Trump to fill a long vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, opened the hearing with a statement expressing concerns about executive overreach and the threat it poses to the separation of powers.

"President Trump repeatedly promised to appoint someone "in the mold of Justice Scalia" and said that the nomination of Judge Gorsuch illustrates he's 'a man of his word", Feinstein said. The Supreme Court hears the final arguments of its current term later that month.

On April 19, 2016, Sisk wrote, Judge Gorsuch used a hypothetical from the prepared material for the class, in which a female law student applies for jobs at law firms because the student has a large debt to pay off. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, promised to oppose Gorsuch's nomination "relentlessly" if Gorsuch doesn't "reject Trump's litmus test". Questioning will begin on Tuesday. There was a small laugh in the crowd as a phalanx of photographers snapped hundreds of pictures of Gorsuch as he took his seat.

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 20, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bar is always high to achieve a seat on the Supreme Court, but in these unusual times - when there is unprecedented stress on our system of checks and balances - the bar is even higher for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to demonstrate independence. And he said Justice Anthony Kennedy taught him that "a case isn't just a number or a name, but a life story".

Sen. Dick Durbin said the actions blocking Garland and subsequent Gorsuch nomination "is part of a Republican strategy to capture our judicial branch of government". Other Democrats would rather focus on what they say is Gorsuch's record of backing big business over worker rights. She also wants to take on Gorsuch's earlier work as a top Justice Department official in 2005 and 2006 under President George W. Bush, when the administration was shaping anti-terrorism policies.

At the start of confirmation hearings on Monday, Leahy complained that Republicans had "made a big show a year ago about respecting the voice of the American people in this process".

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This is the 14th confirmation process for a Supreme Court nominee in which I have participated.

Democrat opposition has less to do with Gorsuch himself than with resentment over the fact that the Republican majority leadership refused to consider Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, last year. As his case made its way through the courts, Gorsuch issued a dissent focusing on semantics, according to Time. He was President Obama's pick to replace Scalia. When asked about a particular area of law or case the Supreme Court has decided, the stock answers are, "That case is established precedent", "That issue may come before the Court, so I can not comment at this time" and "Let me give you a lecture about this area of the law" - the equivalent of laughing in the face of the question-asker.

Gorsuch told lawmakers in private meetings he found Trump's comments about the judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing".

In some of the sharpest comments by a Democrat, Dick Durbin of IL told Gorsuch, "In case after case, you've either dismissed or rejected the efforts of workers and families to recognize their rights or defend their freedoms". However, Republicans may not be able to get enough Democratic votes to move forward on the nomination.

If that happens, Democrats could lose the powerful tool to block any other future high court nominees while Trump is in office.

Democrats' liberal supporters are demanding they do everything within their power to stop Mr Gorsuch.

"The reason I didn't do that", Graham continued, "is because I thought they were qualified", said Graham.