Graham: I thought what Trump said was "really out of bounds." Trump is most powerful man in the world, judges are most vulnerable branch of government.
Graham is quoting Nancy Pelosi on Gorsuch nomination. Read the same quote yesterday. No one has said it is out of bounds, says Graham.
Graham: Not okay for Democrats to criticize Gorsuch. Nothing I can do about it other than be myself. Graham thinks that Gorsuch is well qualified, isn't answering questions to protect judicial independence.
Lots of murmurs of agreement in the visitors sections regarding Graham's time
Leahy: Notes that although Graham described Obama as nominating 2 justices, Obama actually nominated 3, including Merrick Garland. Laments that Senate refused to have a hearing or a vote on Garland.
Leahy: I have experience with time before Roe v. Wade. In one case, Leahy v. Beacham, I brought a declaratory judgment case to allow VT Supreme Court to rule on constituitonality of VT's anti-abortion statute.
Leahy v. Bartlett: Was a case in which I prosecuted someone for an abortion after a young woman nearly died from a botched abortion.
Person who performed abortion would blackmail the woman who had it. Leahy pointed out that woman was trained to do abortions by SS at Auschwitz. Leahy got a plea bargain from her.
Leahy: Yesterday I asked about your connections to Philip Anschutz and his role in lobbying the White House to get you on the Tenth Circuit. Commend you for recusing from cases in which he was involved.
Leahy: You say you follow broader recusal standard, but if you were confirmed, would you still recuse yourself?
Gorsuch: I would go through the same process I did on Tenth Circuit.
Gorsuch: He is a former client, and I treated him as my former client. Would have to look at recusal standards for Supreme Court justices.
Leahy: Standards are the same, it's just that decision to recuse or not is not reviewable for Supreme Court.
Gorsuch: Just have to study the law and practice on the court.
Leahy: It's the same law, with the exception that not reviewable.
Talking about Bush administration and executive power now. Is there any circumstance where president could ignore a statute and authorize torture, asks Leahy?
Gorsuch: I don't want to deal with a case that might come before me. But I can speak generally. Presidents make all sorts of arguments about inherent authority.
Gorsuch: We have courts to resolve these disputes. I would approach through the lens of the Youngstown analysis.
Leahy: The architect of Trump's Muslim ban suggested that judges could not review.
Leahy: Assuming the ban is upheld, do they have to comply with it?
Gorsuch: That's the rule of law in this country.
Gorsuch: I am a judge now and I take that seriously.
[Going back and forth on whether Gorsuch can discuss future cases.]
Leahy asking Gorsuch about Emoluments Clause, which none of us had ever heard of until recently.
Leahy: You have been very hesitant to even talk about Supreme Court precedents. Even Roberts said he agreed with Griswold.
Leahy: During the campaign, Trump promised to appoint justices just like Scalia.
Leahy: Scalia was a friend of mine. I voted for him.
Leahy: Do you agree with Scalia's characterization of Voting Rights Act as a perpetuation of racial entitlement?
Gorsuch: VRA passed to protect civil rights.
Leahy: Also updated just a few years ago, during Bush's tenure.
Gorsuch: Designed to protect the civil rights of Americans. I don't speak for Justice Scalia; I speak for myself.
Leahy: Steve Bannon was a big supporter of yours. He's supported by racists and misogynists.
Leahy: What vision do you share with President Trump?
Gorsuch: They don't speak for me, and I don't speak for them.
Orrin Hatch up next. I have only been here 40 years, have seen great people here.
Hatch: I am very proud of you and the service you are giving to your country. Any fair observer would say we are lucky to have you as our nominee.
Orrin: Now that you are testifying it even reinforces my high opinion of you.
Orrin: I have supported people who are totally different from my beliefs.
When Gorsuch refused to rule out traffic misdemeanors as "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the impeachment context, Leahy jokes that he will start driving more carefully
Hatch: Talking about Chevron deference. Says Chevron impedes independent judiciary's ability to interpret the law.
Gorsuch: I have enforced all manner of regulations that are lawful, even when I didn't like them.
Hatch: Chevron deference is about how to handle questions of law, on which judges are experts.