The Latest: Gorsuch talks of 1 case that lingered


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (all times EDT):

1:48 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says a case involving a truck driver who was fired for disobeying a boss’ order “is one of those you take home at night.”

The appeals court judge dissented in a 2016 decision regarding a truck driver fired after his boss told him to stay with his cargo after the brakes on his trailer froze. But the driver himself reported freezing due to a heater malfunction, so he unhitched the trailer and drove off.

A majority of judges said federal law protected drivers from dismissal when they refuse to operate an unsafe vehicle. But Gorsuch said the driver wasn’t refusing to drive.

He told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his “job is to write the law and apply the law.”


1:30 p.m.

Neil Gorsuch says he was just reading out of a law textbook. But a one of his former law students said he implied in class that many female job applicants unfairly manipulate companies by hiding plans to begin families.

Jennifer R. Sisk provided her recollections of the class in a letter Friday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Supreme Court nominee said he was just reading questions in an ethics law textbook that asked what a woman would do if an older male partner asks if she’s going to get pregnant soon.

He said the answers are to tell the truth, lie or push back in some way. He said he asked how many women had been asked questions like that, and many raised their hands.

Gorsuch said he is “shocked” that women are still asked that question.


12:50 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says President Donald Trump didn’t ask him to overturn the landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade when he interviewed him before his nomination.

Gorsuch added that he “would have walked out the door” if Trump had asked him that.

The nominee added that making such promises is “not what judges do.” The comments came under questioning from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Gorsuch has strong support from conservative groups who support overturning Roe vs. Wade. But the appeals court judge hasn’t ruled directly on abortion, and he said earlier that he wouldn’t weigh in with his personal views on that case or any other Supreme Court decision during his confirmation hearing.


12:36 p.m.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is praising Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s selection for the Supreme Court, saying “frankly I was worried about who he’d pick.”

Graham said, “maybe somebody on TV.”

Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is holding Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing. He was also Trump’s Republican primary opponent in 2016 and a frequent critic.

The senator also jokingly appealed to Trump if he was watching the hearing, saying “you did a good job picking Judge Gorsuch.”


12:11 p.m.

Judge Neil Gorsuch says no one is above the law when pressed about President Donald Trump and national security issues.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Gorsuch if the president has the right to authorize torture if it violates laws passed by Congress.

Gorsuch said “no man is above the law.”

On the campaign trail, Trump spoke emphatically about toughening the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State group. He said he would authorize waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse.”


11:54 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says no one knows how he’d rule if President Donald Trump’s immigration ban comes before the Supreme Court.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Gorsuch in his confirmation hearing Tuesday about a congressman who said Trump should assure Gorsuch is on the court to uphold the travel and immigration ban.

“A lot of people say a lot of silly things,” Gorsuch said. “I am not going to say anything here that would give anybody any idea how I’d rule on any case.”

Courts have blocked two different versions of Trump’s orders to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations.


11:33 a.m.

Judge Neil Gorsuch says he can’t comment on whether former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland was treated fairly.

Gorsuch is President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland was originally nominated for the seat by former President Barack Obama, but he was blocked by Senate Republicans who said the next president should make the pick.

Gorsuch declared that he “can’t get involved in politics,” in response to a question from Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. The nominee added that it would be “imprudent” for him to discuss political disputes.

Many Democrats are still furious that Republicans blocked Garland, and several have mentioned his failed nomination in their statements and questioning.


10:53 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says several cases in which he has ruled for corporations over workers “don’t represent the body of my work.”

Democrats at his confirmation hearing are pointing to cases that include a ruling against a truck driver who claimed he’d been fired for abandoning his truck when it broke down in the cold.

Gorsuch said he has participated in 2,700 opinions, and he often ruled “for the little guy instead of the big guy.”

Those include a case where Colorado landowners are settling with the state over improper handling of nuclear weapons waste, a pregnancy discrimination case and other pollution and harassment cases, he said.

He said he’d like to convey that he is “a fair judge.”


10:23 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says he won’t weigh in with his personal views on Roe vs. Wade or any other Supreme Court decision in his confirmation hearing.

Gorsuch was asked Tuesday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley to discuss the case that legalized abortion nationwide. The nominee would only say it’s a court precedent that has been reaffirmed many times. He gave similar answers to Grassley’s questions about other important cases on such subjects as guns and campaign finance.

Gorsuch said if he were to discuss those cases, “I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I have already made up my mind about cases.”

He added: “I think that’s the beginning of the end of the independent judiciary.”


9:46 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says he has no trouble ruling against anyone, even President Donald Trump, if that’s what the law requires.

Gorsuch is answering questions Tuesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee chairman Chuck Grassley kicked off the day by asking Gorsuch to explain his view of judicial independence.

Gorsuch said that he has “no difficulty ruling against or for any party.”


9 a.m.

Some liberal interest groups and advocates are calling on the Senate to put off confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee while the FBI is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted Tuesday morning that it’s a “sensible rule” to withhold approval for nominee Neil Gorsuch for as long as the investigation continues.

Gorsuch is to spend a long day Tuesday answering questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is among those who already have tried to link the FBI probe to the nomination. Blumenthal said Monday that the prospect that the court could have to weigh in on the issue at some point is not “idle speculation.”


3 a.m.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faces hours of questioning from senators as frustrated Democrats are determined to press him on everything from abortion and guns to his independence from President Donald Trump.

Republicans are unanimously supporting Gorsuch, and certain to give him what cover they can as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Day 2 of his confirmation hearings on Tuesday. But Democrats made clear on the first day that they were in no mood to “rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups and nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes,” as Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont put it.

Gorsuch himself sought to emphasize his strong belief in the separation of powers in his opening statement, pledging to be independent or “hang up the robe.” Seeking to take the edge off Democratic complaints that he has favored the wealthy and powerful in more than 10 years as a federal judge, the 49-year-old Coloradan said he has tried to be a “neutral and independent” judge.

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