After sitting through an afternoon of opening remarks from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominee for the Supreme Court, got to introduce himself to the American people. Gorsuch wasted no time highlighting a record that both adhered to rigid constitutional principles and to mainstream intrepretations of the law.
"97% of the 2,700 cases I've decided were decided unanimously," Gorsuch pointed out, "and...I've been in the majority 99% of the time."
"It is for this body, the people's representatives, to make new laws, for the executive to ensure those laws are faithfully enforced and for neutral and independent judges to apply the law in the people's disputes," Gorusch said. "If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk."
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats began their comments by bringing up Republicans' having refused to hear the nomination of Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Obama last March as a replacement for Antonin Scalia.
"Our job is to determine whether Judge Gorsuch is a reasonable mainstream conservative or is he not," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
In comments following his nomination in January of this year, Gorsuch paid tribute to Scalia, calling him "a lion of the law."
"Agree or disagree with him," Gorsuch said at the time, "all of his colleagues on the bench shared his wisdom and his humor. And like them, I miss him."
One gesture of goodwill came from former Obama administration acting solicitor general Neal Katyal, a Georgetown Law professor, who introduced and spoke in support of Gorsuch, calling him a "first rate intellect and a fair and decent man" who had a "dedication to the rule of law."
Count on Buck to cover these opening proceedings on tonight's show.