[JURIST] The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Thursday held a new round of hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch [Politico profile] to the Supreme Court. Thursday’s hearings involved testimony from 28 outside witnesses [Committee agenda]. This list included retired judges from the US Courts of Appeal, law professors at top universities, leaders of advocacy groups and several of his former law clerks. These witnesses testified both for and against Gorsuch. Also on Thursday, three leading Democrats – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Bernie Sanders [Twitter posts] – announced that they will be voting against Gorsuch’s nomination.
The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings [JURIST report] on Monday for nominee Gorsuch. Each of the 20 senators on the committee, as well as Gorsuch himself, began the hearing by providing opening statements. Hearings continued [JURIST report] on Tuesday, where Gorsuch faced numerous questions and concerns by Democrats on issues of abortion, gun control and campaign spending. Gorsuch refused to answer many of these questions stating that his personal views were irrelevant and that he would keep an open mind and rule fairly based upon the facts and law of each case. Gorsuch pledged to keep “an open mind” and offered that he has “offered no promises on how I’d rule in any case to anyone, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for a judge to do so.” Gorsuch concluded [JURIST report] his testimony on Wednesday. President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch [JURIST report] in January to fill the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing. The seat remained open following the expiration [JURIST report] of then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland [JURIST news archive]. In February, JURIST Contributing Editor William G. Ross [profile] argued that Gorsuch deserved full and fair consideration [JURIST op-ed] despite concerns over the manner in which Garland’s nomination proceeded in the Senate.