The Supreme Court nominee did little to damage his confirmation prospects.
Only one question really matters after Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch endured nearly 20 hours of grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee: What did he do to damage his confirmation prospects?
The answer: Not much.
Gorsuch again declined to make clear how he would come down on hot-button issues, despite the Democrats’ best efforts. He disavowed one e-mail about Guantanamo Bay that he sent as a top Justice Department lawyer, but otherwise, the hearing led to few new revelations. And Democrats began talking as if Gorsuch would be confirmed, anyway.
Here are POLITICO’s top takeaways from Gorsuch’s second and final day of cross-examination:
1) Mr. Future Justice Gorsuch … and may it please the court
One clear indication that Democrats recognize they likely won’t be keeping Gorsuch off the Supreme Court: they spent much of their questioning time Wednesday delivering what sounded more like arguments to the likely heir to Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
Democrats didn’t quite say Gorsuch’s confirmation was a foregone conclusion. But several chose to make impassioned pleas on issues dear to them.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Patrick Leahy of Vermont both pitched Gorsuch on the importance of preserving abortion rights and the danger of returning of what they recalled as a grim a pre-Roe v. Wade reality.
“I want your two daughters to have every opportunity they possibly could have, be treated equal, be able to control their own bodies in concert with their religion, their doctor, whatever it may be, and not be conscribed by to a lesser fate because the law is interpreted in a backward sense,” Feinstein declared. “You are pivotal in this.”
Other Democrats were less dramatic, but more explicit, in their pleas to Gorsuch.