During his initial round of questioning, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee chair, gave Gorsuch ample room to discuss judicial independence. Grassley and Gorsuch touched on “existing Supreme Court precedent,” as well as whether Gorsuch had to make any “promises or commitments” before his nomination. (Gorsuch said he was not asked for any such promises.)
A key reason for this: President Trump, who nominated Gorsuch to the court, had vowed during the campaign to nominate a judge who would help overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion-rights decision. During the final presidential debate, Trump was asked if he wanted to see the Supreme Court overturn that decision.
“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what’s going to be — that will happen,” Trump said during that October debate. “And that’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”
Gorsuch said that he knew people had “their own views about lots of Supreme Court decisions” but that he would not make any promises about how to rule on a case.