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article imageSupreme Court nominee Gorsuch hearing set for March 20

By AFP     Feb 16, 2017 in Politics

The confirmation hearing for US President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been set to begin on March 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Thursday.

The hearing is expected to last three to four days, with opening statements followed by extended questioning from lawmakers and testimony by experts.

Gorsuch, who has served as a federal appeals court judge for the last decade, "has met every demand placed on him by the minority," the panel's chairman Senator Chuck Grassley said, referring to Democratic calls for the nominee to be an independent jurist.

"He is well-qualified and respected," Grassley said in a statement. "It's time for him to have the opportunity to speak for himself before the Judiciary Committee."

Trump announced his pick of Gorsuch, 49, late last month, just 11 days into his presidency. If confirmed, Gorsuch would fill the seat left vacant by the death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who died a year ago in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

Democratic leadership is demanding a 60-vote threshold for Gorsuch, which they have permission to do under Senate rules.

With Republicans holding 52 seats in the 100-member chamber, Gorsuch will need to earn the support of at least eight Democrats to win confirmation.

Republicans contend that Democrats are obstructing all of Trump's cabinet nominees as well as his Supreme Court pick because they remain bitter over losing the November election.

But some Republicans are already predicting that Gorsuch will get confirmed.

"I believe we'll get more than 60 votes in his case because he's so well-qualified," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News on Monday.

"I'm not worried about his nomination at all."

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