On Monday, Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, began his confirmation hearing.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee were expected to aggressively question the nominee. Although Republicans have pitched Gorsuch as a reasonable and moderate choice, the federal appellate judge has been criticized for controversial positions like his support of the Hobby Lobby decision.
On Monday, Senator Dick Durbin (IL) attacked the nominee for the pro-big business bias evident in his record.
“Did you restrict freedom or did you expand it,” Durbin asked. He then clarified that “we the people” refers to people, not corporations—a pressing issue given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United. Durbin went on to criticize the Roberts court for expanding the rights of corporations at the expense of the American people.
He attacked Gorsuch for Hobby Lobby, and “protecting the legal rights of the corporation and its wealthy owners, and how little attention was paid to employees.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) then asserted that “confirmation ettitquete has been unhinged from the truth,” and that Democrats would not be giving Gorsuch the benefit of the doubt. He cited special interests working to push Gorsuch’s nomination, calling it a Republican and special interest spree.
Whitehouse then attacked the Roberts court for valuing special interests. “Every time seems like a lot,” he said, of the Court’s tendency to side with big business and special interests.