Supreme Court pick Gorsuch would have 'no difficulty' ruling against Trump

Sen. Michael Bennet. CREDIT AP

"In case President Trump is watching [the hearing]: if you start waterboarding people, you may get impeached", warned Republican Lindsey Graham of SC before posing a question to Gorsuch.

Graham asked if Gorsuch had met Trump before their interview, and Gorsuch clarified the two had not met in person until that day.

For Gorsuch's part, the second day of his hearing went more smoothly, as he declined to comment on hard topics Democrats pressed him on, including Trump's campaign promise to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

"I'm not in a position to tell you whether I personally like or dislike any precedent", said Gorsuch, who sits on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. "It's not what judges do".

At the midpoint of Senate confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, much of the grilling has been on abortion, travel ban and his loyalty to the President Trump agenda.

Whitehouse said the Supreme Court had gotten into politics through the Citizens United decision-allowing corporate funding of political ads-but Gorsuch said he saw it as judges presented with a case doing their best to decide it on the facts and the law.

Wednesday marked the second day that Feinstein, California's longtime senator, peppered Gorsuch with several constitutional hypothetical scenarios to gauge his opinion on issues. "I can't guarantee you more than that, but I can promise you absolutely nothing less".

Trump, meanwhile, has asked Senate Republicans to resort to the so-called "nuclear option" whereby they could invoke a rule passed by Democrats to approve bills or appointments by a simple majority of 51 votes.

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"Senator, I would have walked out the door", Gorsuch replied. Or maybe they will just ignore the contradiction altogether, and persist in arguing that Gorsuch is both too deferential to the Trump Administration and also not deferential enough.

"There's no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge".

"Specifically tell us whether you'd have any trouble ruling against the President who appointed you", Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Judiciary Committee, instructed him.

To that point, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont told the committee he was not about to " rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups and nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes".

In his opening statement to the panel on Monday, Gorsuch defended his judicial record, emphasizing the need for "neutral and independent judges to apply the law".

Senate procedural vote: Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate but Democrats can push to raise the required threshold to 60 votes.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, calls Neil Gorsuch a judge's judge, a model of what the founders would want in a judge.

Confirmation hearings will continue through Thursday, with a committee vote expected by April 3.

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