- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2017

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch April 3, the committee’s chairman announced Monday as he kicked off confirmation hearings.

Republicans are hoping to have Judge Gorsuch sitting on the high court by the time Congress adjourns for its Easter vacation.

President Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch on Jan. 31 to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the federal bench. Since that time, the judge has met one on one with more than 70 senators and has been preparing for his hearing, which began Monday morning and is expected to last four days.

Judge Gorsuch and the committee members will deliver their opening statements on Monday.

But the sparks will begin to fly on Tuesday when the senators begin questioning him about his record.

“Judge, I’m afraid over the next couple of days, you’ll get some questions that will cause you to scratch your head,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee. “Truth be told, it should puzzle anyone who’s ever taken a civics class.”

Republicans have the votes to push Judge Gorsuch through the committee even if all Democrats vote against him.

But the Senate floor could be a tougher fight.

Democrats have already signaled they will attempt a filibuster, meaning that even if all Republicans back the judge, he’ll still need eight members of the Democratic Caucus to back him in order to overcome the filibuster. Otherwise, GOP leaders could trigger the “nuclear option,” changing the rules to curtail the filibuster.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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