Gorsuch hearing date set for March 20

Gorsuch hearing date set for March 20
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The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination next month. 

Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate panel reaches tentative deal for Kavanaugh accuser to testify Thursday Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Aide for GOP involved in Kavanaugh nomination resigns after past sexual harassment allegation surfaces MORE (R-Iowa) on Thursday announced that hearings will begin March 20, with questioning of Gorsuch scheduled to start the next day. 

"Judge Gorsuch has met every demand placed on him by the Minority. He’s a mainstream judge. He’s displayed independence," Grassley said in a statement. "He’s met with dozens of senators who have nothing but positive things to say. He is well-qualified and respected." 

He added that with Gorsuch returning his committee questionnaire, it's "time for him to have the opportunity to speak for himself before the Judiciary Committee." 

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The hearing will last between three and four days, with Grassley arguing the timeline is in line with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, President Obama's two successful Supreme Court nominees. 

President Trump nominated Gorsuch late last month to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant last year by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Democrats will likely use the hearings to grill Gorsuch on myriad legal issues. They are demanding that he be able to get 60 votes to clear the Senate, which would require he win over at least eight Democratic senators. 

Republicans argue that Democrats are trying to apply an unfair higher standard, noting that Sotomayor and Kagan were not subjected to a higher procedural threshold. 

Though Democrats lowered the 60-vote threshold for most nominations in 2013, they left the higher bar intact for Supreme Court picks.