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Why top Democrat Feinstein is ‘deeply disappointed’

As Judge Neil Gorsuch begins his first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats want to offer a stern reminder that then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee never got that far.

“We’re here today under very unusual circumstances,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in her opening remarks. She pointed out that Republicans did not allow Judge Merrick Garland to have hearings last year, during the presidential campaign.

“I am deeply disappointed that it is under these circumstances that we begin these hearings,” she said.

Senate Republican leaders did not allow hearings on Garland to proceed, arguing that the winner of the election should be the one to decide on a nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.

Feinstein also looked ahead to Gorsuch’s hearing. “Our job is to determine whether Judge Gorsuch is a reasonable mainstream conservative or is he not,” she said.

Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings: Updates and analysis on the Supreme Court nominee
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.

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