Democrats set the stage Monday for a tough day of questioning for Neil Gorsuch, popular vote loser Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. The hearings are under the big, black cloud of the FBI investigation of Trump's campaign and the very real taint that Gorsuch's nomination came from a president who may prove to be illegitimate.
On top of that, Gorsuch is applying for what every Democratic senator believes is a job that Republicans stole from Merrick Garland, the man President Obama nominated for this seat a year ago. Garland loomed large in the opening statements from Democrats on Monday, while Republicans smugly claimed that their blockade had led to the "super legitimacy" of this nomination.
Tuesday, the senators will have 50 minutes each to grill Gorsuch, 30 minutes in the first round then 20 minutes in follow up. Here's what's likely to be the focus of questions.
- Executive power and the limits on a president and Gorsuch's independence, particularly in light of the FBI investigation and Gorsuch's tenure in the Justice Department of the Bush-Cheney regime during the worst of its lawless actions
- President Trump's Muslim ban and his comments about the judiciary and "so-called judges"
- Women's reproductive rights
- Religious freedom as it applies to women's rights and to LGBT rights
- Gorusch's opinions that have favored corporate interests over individuals
Since there are 20 senators and each has 50 minutes, expect this round of the hearing to spill over into tomorrow. You can watch the hearing here.