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Confirmation Hearings Begin For Judge Neil Gorsuch09:51

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Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch (Andrew Harnik/AP)closemore
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The first of four days of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch began this morning. Gorsuch is President Trump's choice to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia who died last year.

Both Gorsuch and the Senate Judiciary Committee gave opening statements today. Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, focused on the separation of powers in his 10-minute statement, saying, "Judges aren't free to update the Constitution. That's not their job." He continued, "That power is retained by the people, acting through their elected representatives. And when our judges don't respect this limited power... they take from the American people the right to govern themselves."

In contrast, ranking member Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, reminded the committee about the denial of hearings for President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. She started her remarks by saying, "Unfortunately, due to unprecedented treatment, Judge Garland was denied a hearing and this vacancy has been in place for well over a year." She added, "I just want to say I am deeply disappointed that it's under these circumstances that we begin our hearings."

Guest

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. He tweets @ishapiro.

This segment aired on March 20, 2017.

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