Not about the messenger, but about the message. Using analogy to church but applies also to the bench, he suggests.
Neal Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general under President Obama, has just entered the room. He will help introduce Gorsuch later today.
Everyone gets a black robe -- not red for Republicans or blue for Democrats.
Also teaches our kids how to understand their Constitution.
Time and again, the court has struck down laws or stopped executive actions, says Sasse.
Job is not to uphold the will of the majority and reflect the popular opinions of the day, says Sasse.
Constitution is a decidedly and intentionally anti-majoritarian document. Exists to protect our rights and liberties even when we might have unpopular views, says Sasse.
First Amendment bars state religion, guarantees everyone can worship (or not) as they please. But if 51% decided to make church attendance mandatory, the Court would strike down such laws, says Sasse.
By enacting the Constitution, we intentionally decided to tie our own hands so that there are certain things a majority can never do, says Sasse.
Each branch serves the people, says Sasse, but in unique ways. Congress and the president act, courts react.
When a justice puts on his or her robe, we don't want them confusing their job with those of other branches.
Today, Judge Gorsuch is wearing a suit and tie, says Sasse. He must answer the committee's questions to put on the black robe. He probably has policy preferences but I don't know what they are, and that's a good thing, says Sasse.
If a judge seeks to be a super-legislator, he or she should run for office, says Sasse.
Taking a quick break now. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware will be next.
Break time, we'll be back with Sen. Coons. There's a mad dash from the hearing room to the restroom
Gorsuch is not back yet, but Grassley is trying to get things started anyway.
There is a strange knocking sound, like someone is gaveling over and over again.
No one seems to know what is going on, but it is causing general merriment in the gallery and press corps.
It stopped momentarily, and then started up again.
It stopped for a moment, back again
Grassley now says "This isn't meant to be funny. But if it bothers my colleagues I will stop it."
Now we are waiting for Gorsuch.
Gorsuch has arrived, greeted by a gazillion camera shutters snapping.
Coons is up next. Nominee confirmed to the court shapes our law for decades, he says.
We will explore how your approach to interpreting the Constitution will affect our lives, says Coon. I know that you too hope that this moment will be a shared civic experience.
I am considering your nomination with an open mind, I hope that you will be forthcoming, says Sasse.
But cannot let this moment pass without remembering that Garland was nominated, but nomination sat without any action, says Coons.
American people are entitled to hear you answer probing questions about a wide variety of issues.
The court gets a wide variety of issues. The seat was occupied by Scalia, says Coons, and you have been compared to him.
It's because of Supreme Court decisions that gay men cannot be prosecuted for engaging in consensual relations, same-sex couples can get married, juveniles cannot be executed, women can attend VMI. Justice Scalia applied his understanding of the Constitution to dissent in every one of those cases, says Coons.
I believe that our Constitution includes guarantees of equality and privacy, says Coons.
The legitimacy of our court transcends the outcome of any one case, says Coons, but justices have to decide cases on their merits.
Your nomination has been championed by the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society, but I am looking to you to show your ability to separate politics from constitutional interpretation.
Coons accuses Gorsuch of going beyond what is required in his writing to "promote dramatic changes in the law"
Look forward to exploring religious freedom decisions with you.
At other times in our history, sincerely held religious beliefs have been invoked to deny many Americans full equality.
Court likely to hear many important cases in years to come, says Coons.
There are disturbing developments that I see as affronts to religious freedom, such as travel ban, says Coons.
Withdrawal of guidance re protections for transgender students, says Coons.
Our next justice will play a key role in sustaining our rights during this critical time for our country.