This is not just about one justice, says Hirono. This is about an affirmation of our country's values.
A vacancy isn't just another position to fill, says Hirono. It is a solemn obligation we must fulfill for future generations.
Next up: Senator Kennedy of Louisiana. How are you doing, judge?
I walked by the Supreme Court building the other day, says Kennedy.
Without justice, without equal treatment by the law, liberty becomes an empty promise.
So even though it is easy to look to elected officials as the last protectors of liberty, we have entrusted that job to the Court. That's why this hearing is so important.
That's why we need, if we can, to go beyond politics and the person who lives in the White House.
Also go beyond current events and truly understand our role in this process.
I hope we can focus on temperament, legal philosophy, legal reasoning, qualifications, experience.
Can we forget that we are all politicians, asks Kennedy.
I have met Gorsuch and read his work, and I like what I see, says Kennedy.
D. Phil. from Oxford is probably the most difficult degree in the world, says Kennedy. Columbia, Harvard also pretty good.
I have read about 20 opinions, says Kennedy. You write really, really well.
Your opinions are engaging, whether you agree with them or not.
You show concern for the parties. You use their names, says Kennedy, rather than referring to them as "appellants" or "appellees."
Respect for precedent and judicial independence is apparent in all opinions, says Kennedy.
I am rather fond of the Constitution and its separation of powers, says Kennedy.
One of the main purposes of the Constitution is to tell us when to stop, says Kennedy.
Kennedy himself has a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from Oxford, as well as degrees from Vanderbilt and University of Virginia law school.
Let me be blunt, says Kennedy. I am looking for a judge, not an ideologue.
I am not interested in people who want to use the judiciary to advance their own policy goals, no matter whether to right or to left.
I also want someone who is intellectually curious, earnest in his desire to rule fairly, and who is willing to fight for his view of justice. I guess what I want is a cross between Socrates and Dirty Harry, and I believe you might be that person.
Gorsuch smiles and turns around to wink at someone in his friends and family group at that comment.
I will not ask you to violate the code of conduct for judges, which instructs judges to refrain from commenting on pending case.
Some press photographers have staked out their positions near our press tables for a shot behind Gorsuch when he raises his hand to take the oath. Most photographers will be in front of the nominee, and there will be a cacophony of shutters.
We are nearing the end of the senators, so the most recent speakers are on the outer edges of the committee dais. This means, as Mark has said earlier, that Gorsuch has to turn sharply to see Senator Kennedy.
Colorado Sens. Bennett and Gardner will speak now, then Neal Katyal, who was Acting SG under Pres. Obama
Next up we have several speakers introducing Gorsuch. First Senators Bennet and Gardner of Colorado and then former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. So Gorsuch has gotten up to give them seats. "You don't have to ask me twice," he said to Grassley.
A quick respite as everyone plays musical chairs. Gorsuch sits down in front row behind the table.
Senator Cory Gardner is up first.
Thanks the committee for its hard work.
Wants to show his "strong support for our outstanding" nominee, Gorsuch.
Gardner is quoting poetry from/about Colorado for the point that there are highly qualified jurists west of the Colorado. Tenth Circuit represents 20% of U.S. land mass.
Will be only the second Coloradan to serve on the Court. Apparently has the endorsement of John Elway of the Broncos.
The first Coloradan on the Court was Byron White [for whom Gorsuch clerked].
Judge Gorsuch is not an ideologue. He is a mainstream jurist who follows the law as written, says Gardner.
Judge Gorsuch recognizes that the judiciary is not the place for social or constitutional experimentation.
Judge Gorsuch has a deep appreciation and respect for principles of separation of powers.
A class of what appears to be middle school students has just been seated in the room.
It is this appropriate temperament and fidelity to the Constitution that have made him a consensus pick among Colorado legal and legislative communities.
Senator Gardner is reading endorsements of Gorsuch from Colorado luminaries from both parties.
I am certain Judge Gorsuch will make Colorado proud, concludes Gardner. I am certain he will receive a fair hearing, and I look forward to ensuring that we vote expeditiously.
Next up, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.
Bennet, a Democrat, has received some criticism for agreeing to introduce Gorsuch, but it is pretty much a bipartisan tradition for home-state senators to introduce a major nominee.