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Durbin, Gorsuch spar over Hobby Lobby ruling

Gorsuch sparred with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) over the judge’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, which held that closely held businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the owner’s religious beliefs.

The decision struck down part of the Affordable Care Act and was later affirmed by the Supreme Court. Liberals have said it shows Gorsuch’s hostility to reproductive rights.

Durbin said he could not see how Gorsuch could read the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to include corporations, when it was intended to cover only individuals. But Gorsuch said the law was not written that way and that existing case law made clear that corporations could be considered as having the same rights as individuals. Congress could change that if it thinks otherwise, Gorsuch said.

“If we got it wrong, I’m sorry,” Gorsuch said. “But we did our level-best, and it was affirmed by the Supreme Court.”

Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings: Updates and analysis on the Supreme Court nominee
epa05860192 Neil Gorsuch appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 20 March 2017. Gorsuch, who was nominated by US President Donald J. Trump on 31 January 2017, begins his confirmation hearing 401 days after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans refused to vote or hold confirmation hearings on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, resulting in the longest opening on the court since the 1860s. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Gorsuch appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. (Michael Reynolds/EPA)

Judge Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge from Colorado, is on Capitol Hill today for confirmations hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump to fill the seat left open by the death of Antonin Scalia and has broad support among Republicans.

It’s a chance for Senate Democrats to take a stand against the Trump administration, and express their anger that Republicans blocked a hearing for President Barack Obama’s selection for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Monday is the beginning of four days of hearings. Follow along.