(The Daily Signal) On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its hearing on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is confident that the Senate will confirm Gorsuch before the Easter recess, which is set to begin April 10.
As Senate Democrats have scrambled to find reasons to object to Gorsuch, scores of people across the political spectrum have spoken out in support of the nominee. Thus, if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and other Democrats want to stop Gorsuch’s nomination, they will face an uphill battle during the hearings.
As the hearing starts, how has this process compared to other Supreme Court confirmations in recent years?
The Bush Years
President George W. Bush’s first chance to make a Supreme Court nomination came in July 2005 when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her intention to retire. This was the first vacancy on the court in over a decade. Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts on July 19, 2005. While his nomination was pending, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had been battling thyroid cancer, died Sept. 3.
With Rehnquist’s death, Bush rethought his strategy for filling two vacancies on the Supreme Court. He decided to withdraw Roberts’ nomination to be an associate justice and announced him Sept. 5 as nominee for chief justice of the United States.
The Senate Judiciary Committee met Sept. 12-15 for Roberts’ confirmation hearing, and one week later, on Sept. 22, the committee voted 13-5, with three Democrats joining the Republicans, to send his nomination to the full Senate. The Senate voted to confirm Roberts on Sept. 29, 2005, just in time for him to join the court before the start of its 2005-2006 term the next week….