GOP, Dems take different tone at Gorsuch hearing

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Surrounded by a mob of photographers, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee welcomed Judge Neil Gorsuch to Capitol Hill Monday.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge received a warm reception as members of both parties smiled and shook his hand. But those feelings didn't last long.

Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), praised Gorsuch in their opening statements.

"I look forward to hearing more about your exceptional record," said Grassley.

Democrats, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), expressed disappointment over something Gorsuch had no involvement in at all.

"It was almost a year ago today that President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland for this seat," said Feinstein. "Unfortunately, due to unprecedented treatment, Judge Garland was denied a hearing."

While there was no questioning during Monday's hearing, it was clear from the senators' opening statements that Republicans and Democrats have very different views of Gorsuch's judicial philosophy.

Democrats call him a Constitutional 'originalist'.

"Given what we've seen from Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, and Judge Gorsuch's own record, I worry it goes beyond being a philosophy and it becomes an agenda," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Republicans say Gorsuch is an independent judge.

"Judge Gorsuch swore to administer justice without respect to persons and to impartially discharge his judicial duties," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

After listening to 20 senators over the course of several hours, it was finally Gorsuch's chance to speak.

"I'm acutely aware of my own imperfections, but I pledge to each of you and the American people, if I am confirmed, I'll do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant to the Constitution and laws of this great nation," said Gorsuch in his opening statement.

We'll hear much more from Gorsuch Tuesday as questioning begins.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been down one seat since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016.