Committee head Sen. Chuck Grassley predicted the first round of questioning will last for about 10 hours, and joked that he would appreciate it if he could be home for his preferred 9 p.m. bedtime.
While the news was too fresh for the initial round of statements, breaking just as the hearing was called into order, some Democrats used the Russian Federation news to warn Gorsuch of the high bar he was now going to have to clear. He contends that's important for Arizona where more than 81 percent of the land is controlled by the federal government.
Another Democrat, U.S. Sen.
The hearing continues for three more days with a committee vote in two weeks.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, a group that is backing Gorsuch, said the judge will need to be wary of getting pinned down on questions that are veiled attempts at eliciting an opinion on Trump's travel ban.
But Katyal also bemoaned the circumstances under which he was nominated, calling it "a tragedy of national proportions that Merrick Garland does not sit on the court".
Denver Broncos General Manager and former NFL Quarterback John Elway threw his support behind United States Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch Monday.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we noticed, Senator Grassley, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee today said they're concerned about Judge Gorsuch.
For their part, Republicans uniformly portrayed Gorsuch as a genial, principled judge whose qualifications make him eminently suitable for the nation's highest court, and they derided the Democrats' strategy.
Trump - who asked the Senate to "go nuclear" if Democrats filibuster - has said he is confident Gorsuch will be confirmed. In a letter to Democratic senators, groups including MoveOn.org, the Working Families Party and NARAL Pro-Choice America accused Democrats of failing "to demonstrate a strong, unified resistance" to Gorsuch. Either Democrats will provide the eight votes he needs to meet a 60-vote threshold, or McConnell and Republicans will unilaterally change Senate rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple 51-vote majority.
"I am concerned when I hear that Judge Gorsuch is an originalist and a strict constructionist". But with only 52 Republicans in the Senate, Republicans could not break a Democrat filibuster, if there is one.
At the start of confirmation hearings on Monday, Leahy complained that Republicans had "made a big show a year ago about respecting the voice of the American people in this process".
For months previous year, Republicans refused to consider then Democratic President Barack Obama's pick to fill the seat. Patrick Leahy of Vermont put it.
In the end, Smolla said he expects Gorsuch to receive a confirmation.
"If President Eisenhower pursued the same policies President Trump would like to, it's very possible I wouldn't be here today", said Hirono, 69.