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Leahy takes aim at Trump Supreme Court nominee - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Leahy takes aim at Trump Supreme Court nominee

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is criticizing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch because of his support from conservative interest groups that the Vermont lawmaker called "anti-choice, anti-environment and pro-corporate."

Gorsuch was recommended for the nomination by the conservative Federalist Society and others during last year's presidential campaign after Senate Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 and the seat has remained vacant.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch in February.

At the start of confirmation hearings on Monday, Leahy complained that Republicans had "made a big show last year about respecting the voice of the American people in this process."

Leahy said Republicans are now pressing to "rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups." The Democrat also noted Gorsuch was nominated by Trump, who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

In his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, President Donald Trump's nominee said it is for Congress to make laws, for the executive to enforce them, "and for neutral and independent judges" to apply them.

He said that in his decade as a federal appeals court judge he tried to treat all fairly and with respect. He said he has decided cases for disabled students, prisoners and workers alleging civil rights violations.

Gorsuch said: "Sometimes, I have ruled against such persons too."

He said his decisions never reflected a judgment about the people before me, "only my best judgment about the law and facts at issue in each particular case."

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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