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US President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, will be the guest of honour at a confirmation hearing set to start on March 20.
Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate’s judiciary committee — which will conduct the hearing — announced on Thursday that the hearing is slated to last 3-4 days, with opening statements from committee members and Mr Gorsuch on March 20, and questioning to begin March 21. Outside legal experts will also weigh in, as well as the American Bar Association, the top US lawyer organisation.
Mr Trump nominated Mr Gorsuch — who currently serves as a judge on the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals — to fill the seat on the nine-member Supreme Court bench left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death last year.
While he is widely respected and seen as having a strong conservative judicial philosophy similar to the judge he would be replacing, some Democrats have raised objections to his nomination, particularly after Republicans successfully blocked consideration of Merrick Garland, who was put forward by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Mr Grassley said in a statement:
“He’s a mainstream judge. He’s displayed independence. He’s met with dozens of senators who have nothing but positive things to say. He is well-qualified and respected. He worked diligently to return the bipartisan questionnaire. It’s time for him to have the opportunity to speak for himself before the Judiciary Committee.”