Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing to Start Today

The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will begin today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. This post tells you what you need to know about the hearing.

First, there’s a direct North Carolina connection to the hearing. Senator Thom Tillis is a member of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Tillis has described Judge Gorsuch as an “incredibly qualified” nominee.

Second, the hearings are expected to last most of the week. The Senate Judiciary Committee website contains limited scheduling information. Judge Gorsuch himself will address the Committee, as will a number of other people representing various viewpoints.

Third, all Supreme Court nominations are controversial these days, and this one is no exception. Judge Gorsuch’s resume is impressive, but some oppose his confirmation because of what they see as a pro-business ideology. Senate Republicans’ unwillingness to consider Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Court by President Obama also may influence Judge Gorsuch’s reception among Senate Democrats.

Fourth, I spent a few minutes with the detailed questionnaire that Judge Gorsuch submitted to the Committee. I culled these tidbits that I thought were interesting:

  • Among the ten cases that Judge Gorsuch identified as the most significant of his judicial career is United States v. Carloss, 818 F.3d 988 (10th Cir. 2016). According to the questionnaire, Judge Gorsuch dissented in that case, arguing that “no trespassing” signs revoke any implied consent that would allow a law enforcement officer to enter the curtilage of a residence.
  • To the best of Judge Gorsuch’s recollection, no opinion he has written has ever been reversed by the Supreme Court.
  • While in practice, Judge Gorsuch tried just four cases to jury verdict — but two of the four involved claims worth at least $1billion.
  • As a judge, he became concerned with the quality of representation death row inmates received in federal habeas proceedings; as a result, he “participated in the effort to increase the quality of capital representation before the Tenth Circuit by attracting new attorneys and training existing ones.”

Fifth, for those interested in further reading, NPR has a summary of this politics here, and PBS has a preview of the hearing here. Former Obama Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal wrote this editorial supporting Judge Gorsuch. Finally, the record of Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing for his current is here.

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