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Confirmation hearing date set for Supreme Court nominee

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Grassley announced Thursday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin March 20.

Gorsuch, who has served as a federal appeals court judge for the last decade, "has met every demand placed on him by the minority", the panel's chairman Senator Chuck Grassley said, referring to Democratic calls for the nominee to be an independent jurist.

Grassley says he expects the hearings to last three to four days.

Schumer claimed he has not made up his mind on whether he will support Gorsuch but argued that Trump's Supreme Court nominee deserves intense scrutiny in light of the president's actions. Questioning of Gorsuch would begin the next day, and the committee would hear other expert testimony. "He's displayed independence", Grassley said in a statement.

The hearing is the first step in the confirmation process, which Republicans hope to complete by April.

"I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch today", Casey said.

It remains unclear, however, whether Republicans will be able to get enough Democratic votes to move forward on the nomination.

Trump's nomination of Gorsuch will need support from some Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster, although Republicans have suggested they may invoke the so-called "nuclear option" to require only a majority.

Tester's comments contrasted with the views of many Senate Democrats, some of whom have already vowed to vocally oppose Gorsuch's nomination and filibuster a confirmation vote if necessary.

Some Senate Democrats have vowed to oppose his nomination in part because of how Senate Republicans treated Judge Merrick Garland, the nominee put forward a year ago by former President Barack Obama.

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