Hearings for Trump Supreme Court pick to start March 20

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced today that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin on March 20, likely pushing the start of a Senate floor fight over his confirmation until after Easter, and maybe into the summer, if Democratic opponents filibuster that nomination.

In a release issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said he expects the Gorsuch hearings to last three to four days; Gorsuch will begin his testimony on March 20.

"Gorsuch’s hearing will begin 48 days following the announcement of his nomination," the Judiciary Committee release stated, noting that hearings began 48 days after the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and 49 days after the nomination of Justice Elana Kagan.

With hearings the week of March 20, it is probably more likely that Gorsuch would be voted on in the Senate Judiciary Committee after Easter - the Senate is scheduled to be out of session for an Easter break from April 7 to April 24.

Once the Gorsuch nomination goes to the Senate floor, that's when this battle could get much more intense, as Democrats have threatened a filibuster, which would require 60 votes to break.

Republicans have 52 votes in the Senate; they have been trying to put public pressure on some Democratic Senators to allow for a final vote on President Trump's Supreme Court choice.

If the GOP cannot get to 60 votes, then there is already pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate, to get rid of that 60 vote requirement.

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