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Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faces the Senate on Wednesday following a marathon Tuesday session in which lawmakers grilled him about his independence from President Donald Trump and ruling history.
During the nearly 12-hour session, Gorsuch refused to tip his hand on how he would rule on past or possible future cases, including Trump's executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries or any effort to reverse Roe v. Wade. The 49-year-old conservative appeals judge stressed that he "offered no promises on how (he would) rule in any case to anyone."
"I'm not going to say anything here that would give anybody any idea how I'd rule in any case like that that could come before the Supreme Court or my court at the 10th Circuit," Gorsuch said. "It would be grossly improper of a judge to do that. It would be a violation of the separation of powers and judicial independence if someone sitting at this table, in order to get confirmed, had to make promises or commitments about how they'd rule in a case that's currently pending and likely to make its way to the Supreme Court."
Asked about Trump's attacks on federal judges who blocked his executive order on travel, Gorsuch called any criticism of a judge's independence "disheartening" and "demoralizing."
Facing criticism from Democrats that his past rulings have shown he may not look out for workers or marginalized groups, Gorsuch repeatedly said he aims to apply the law equally.
Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-member chamber, and will need at least eight Democratic votes to confirm Gorsuch if they decide not to trigger a "nuclear option" rules change that would only require a majority. Many Democrats have dug in against confirming Gorsuch after Republicans did not hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated for the seat left vacant by the death last year of arch conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Read coverage of Tuesday's hearing:
Gorsuch: 'I have offered no promises on how I'd rule' on the Supreme Court
Here's what Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch had to say about Trump's travel ban
Neil Gorsuch: Supreme Court has said same-sex marriage is 'protected by the Constitution'