Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

The Gorsuch Hearing: Nuts and Bolts

Here are the basics, as I understand them, of next week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. (I’ve compiled my writings on the Gorsuch nomination on this single page, to enable easy review and searches.)

The hearing will last four days, from Monday through Thursday.

Monday’s session, which will begin at 11 a.m., will consist entirely of opening statements by senators. There are 20 senators on the committee, so at 15 10 minutes per senator, that’s five more than three hours of opening statements. Judge Gorsuch will then make his opening statement.

Judge Gorsuch’s testimony will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Senators will each have a first round of 30-minute Q&As, so that will take ten hours (not counting breaks). Chairman Grassley will open, followed by ranking member Feinstein, and then alternating back and forth between Republicans and Democrats—Hatch, Leahy, Graham, Durbin, Cornyn, Whitehouse, Lee, Klobuchar, Cruz, Franken, Sasse, Coons, Flake, Blumenthal, Crapo, Hirono—and then finishing with the two most junior Republicans on the committee, Tillis and Kennedy. I doubt that the first round will be completed on Tuesday.

The committee will then have a second round of questioning, which might be as long as 20 minutes per senator (or nearly seven hours total). That second round should be completed on Wednesday.

On Thursday (or perhaps starting late Wednesday), the various panels of witnesses will testify. 

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