On the four TV monitors in the hearing room, the camera shot has been exclusively focused on the senator who is speaking. So we can't see Gorsuch's reactions to anything, such as Whitehouse's current hit list of criticism. I'm not sure if the C-Span feed is showing Gorsuch.
I've just spotted Leonard Leo, who has taken time off from the Federalist Society to help the Trump administration with the nomination, entering the room. He may have been here earlier and ducked out.
The few times I've been able to see Gorsuch, he's been taking notes
Sen. Graham is now here, and by seniority, he gets to deliver his opening statement.
Graham up, says that he didn't believe Trump would win, jokes about his criticisms of Trump, says that means Garland blockade
wasn't a plot to get a Trump nominee on the Court
Sen. Cruz has just arrived as well
Graham focuses on his votes for Kagan and Sotomayor because they were qualified, like Gorsuch
In criticizing the politicized hearing process, Graham says "What I want to say to the American public is that I'm grateful people like Judge Gorsuch are willing to go through this."
Graham also notes a record of 2700 cases decided by Gorsuch, only one overturned by SCOTUS
Graham defending the blockade of Garland, discusses the "Biden rule", comments from Biden from 1992 suggesting that once a political season is underway, action on SCOTUS nominees should be held
Scalia was 98-0, Ginsburg was 96-3 (Graham says) -- need to get back to this or we will destroy the judiciary, he concludes
Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota now speaking
Amy Klobuchar is a former prosecutor. Now talking about Chevron doctrine and Gorsuch's views.
Says she has questions about his past decisions and his distinction between judges and legislators -- Gorsuch has said judges should look backward to apply law, not forward -- Klobuchar wants to know how these views relate to modern issues
Intended to ensure that scientists and professionals make the decisions that they are better suited to make than judges.
Overturning Chevron would have "titanic" effects on our everyday lives. If you believe it is really time to overturn Chevron, we need to know what you would replace it with.
Moving on to campaign finance restrictions and prospect that Gorsuch would apply strict scrutiny. Over 3/4 of Americans say we need new laws to reduce influence of money in politics.
Hobby Lobby -- Gorsuch said corporations are legal persons, leaving open "troubling" possibility that corporations have free speech rights. She also wants to talk about other free speech issues and antitrust.
Klobuchar now quoting Harry Blackmun of Minnesota. "Not all is black and white."
Klobuchar: As a prosecutor, every decision had real implications. It is the same with judges.
She is providing examples of the effect of court's rulings on individuals. As the granddaughter of a miner, she says, it was the miners whose lives were saved by regulations.
Says her father still remembers sitting in front of caskets for miners who died.
"I want to know about more than just your record," says Klobuchar.
Senator Ted Cruz up next.
And we're now halfway through the senators on the committee. Ten more to go.
Thanks Gorsuch for his decades of service and for his willingness "to endure the spectacle" of confirmation hearings.
Talking about death of Justice Scalia, describes him as one of greatest justices ever, advocate for originalism and judicial humility.
Scalia's death "left enormous shoes to fill," says Cruz.
Cruz says there is a disagreement about what court's role should be. For conservatives, Constitution embues federal judiciary with more modest role than the left embraces. Judges faithfully apply the law -- that's all.
Had Obama or Clinton filled Scalia's seat, Scalia's legacy "would have been in great danger," says Cruz.
Chairman Grassley and ranking member Feinstein having a standing, sidebar conversation. So far, no sniping between them as there often was between Chairman Leahy and ranking member Sessions.
Would have seen democratic process controlled by 5 unelected lawyers, says Cruz.
That's why, after Scalia's death, we advised Obama that we would not consent to a nominee until the people could choose.
The people had a choice, says Cruz. Originalism v. progressive and activist view of Constitution.
During campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to nominate judges like Scalia, listed 21.
Cruz calls Trump's list the most "transparent" selection process in SCOTUS history
Trump's list was a move without precedent, says Cruz. Made for transparent process.
IN November, the people spoke, says Cruz. Referendum on kind of justice to be chosen. "The people chose judicial humility," says Cruz.
Given that history, says Cruz, I would suggest that Gorsuch "is no ordinary nominee."
Gorsuch's nomination carries with it a "super-legitimacy" that is also unprecedented, says Cruz.
Gorsuch is brilliant and has an impeccable academic record, says Cruz. Refused to legislate own policy preferences from the bench.
On the night he was nominated, says Cruz, Gorsuch "channeled Justice Scalia" when he said that judge who likes every outcome he reaches is probably a bad judge.
Gorsuch is right, says Cruz; should give comfort to people and my Democratic colleagues.
Democrats agreed with that principle -- Gorsuch confirmed by a voice vote for Tenth Circuit without a single word of opposition.
Not even from Obama, Biden, or Clinton in 2006. Question this hearing poses, says Cruz, is what has changed?