Last Updated Mar 21, 2017 9:15 AM EDT
Here’s how to watch the first day of the hearings:
- What: Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings for Supreme Court
- When: Monday, Mar. 20, the hearing will begin at 11 a.m.
- Online: begins at 7 a.m. ET
Neil Gorsuch, the man President Donald Trump chose to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, will begin his Senate confirmation hearings on Monday.
Due to Republican control of the Senate, Gorsuch is expected to eventually be confirmed to the court. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has said he expects the entire process to last roughly six weeks, and hopes to have Gorsuch on the court before the Senate leaves for its Easter recess.
Although Gorsuch will be present on the first day of hearings, he is not expected to testify until Tuesday. The first day, meanwhile, will be made up of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee making their opening remarks. The 20 senators on the committee, and Gorsuch, too, will make opening statements that are to be no longer than 10 minutes each.
The hearings themselves are expected to last three or four days. On the second day, senators will be questioning Gorsuch. The third day will include testimony from outside witnesses.
Should he be confirmed, Gorsuch, who is 49-years-old, would be poised to remain on the bench for decades. He is considered to be a conservative judge with a philosophical bent, and it known for his well-written opinions and verdicts.
Gorsuch currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Before that, in the 1990s, he clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom he would now be joining on the court, if he’s confirmed. The Senate unanimously confirmed him to his current job in 2006, after a stint in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
Gorsuch has been declared “well qualified” for the Supreme Court, and he holds degrees from Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University. Democrats, however, have demanded that Gorsuch meet a 60-vote threshold for confirmation, meaning that he will have to seek the support of at least eight Democrats in the full chamber.
Should Democrats refuse en masse to support Gorsuch, he could face a filibuster. McConnell, however, would likely be able to still force Gorsuch through by changing Senate rules via majority vote and forbidding the filibuster of Supreme Court nominees.
An important subtext to the Gorsuch hearing will be Democratic anger over the GOP’s refusal to consider then-President Barack Obama’s choice for the court last year. Obama had wanted Merrick Garland, a moderate jurist, to replace Scalia. Instead of bringing him up for a vote, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to keep the court seat vacant until after the November 2016 election, which Mr. Trump won.
Mr. Trump, in a bid to win over Republicans hostile to his nomination, promised repeatedly to appoint a conservative to replace Scalia, one of the court’s most right-wing justices during his tenure. Conservatives, some of whom were worried that Mr. Trump would break his promise by appointing a more liberal judge, have been widely enthusiastic
The selection of Gorsuch was met with praise by conservatives, particularly those worried that Mr. Trump would break his promise by appointing a more liberal judge. Mr. Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is herself a left-leaning judge on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.