Confirmation hearings begin for Judge Neil Gorsuch

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel has opened confirmation hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

The panel's chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley, opened the first day of hearings on Monday. Colorado's two senators — Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner — are introducing Gorsuch, a highly credentialed and conservative member of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gorsuch's nomination has been cheered by Republicans and praised by some left-leaning legal scholars. Democrats headed into the committee hearings divided over how hard to fight him.

The first day of the hearings will feature opening statements from senators and Gorsuch himself. Questioning will begin on Tuesday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says his panel likely will cast a vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's nomination in two weeks, on April 3.

Grassley said the committee will first schedule a vote for next Monday, March 27. But he expects the vote to be held over a week, as committee rules allow any member to push it back.

Republicans have said they would like Gorsuch to be confirmed before Congress leaves for a two-week recess on April 7.

For Supreme Court nominations, the Judiciary panel has traditionally voted to recommend a nominee favorably or unfavorably, giving the full Senate the final say.

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