Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is greeted with smiles and handshakes as he arrives for his Senate confirmation hearing. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was greeted with plenty of smiles and handshakes as he arrived for his Senate confirmation hearing on Monday. Donald Trump's nominee is expected to face tough scrutiny at the hearing, with Democrats seeking to make the case that Gorsuch is a pro-business, social conservative insufficiently independent of the Republican president. Gorsuch, a cool-headed and amiable conservative federal appeals court judge from Colorado, likely will try to engage members of the Senate Judiciary Committee without being pinned down on specifics that could trip up his nomination to the lifetime post. The court's ideological balance is at stake. If Gorsuch, nominated by Trump on Jan. 31, is confirmed by the Senate, as expected, he would restore a narrow 5-4 conservative majority on the court. The seat has been vacant for 13 months, since the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a plain-spoken Iowan, will chair the proceedings, which could go as long as four days, providing classic Washington political theater. Democrats can be expected to put up a fierce fight. They contend that Trump's party "stole" a seat on the Supreme Court when the Republican-led Senate last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nomination of federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia.