Trump’s Supreme Court pick is pressed on whether he could rule against the president: ‘That’s a softball, Mr. Chairman’

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Neil Gorsuch.
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, is still in the early stages of what is certain to be days of marathon grilling in front of the Senate.

But it didn’t take long to get to one of the more pertinent questions: Could he rule against Trump?

At the onset of his Tuesday testimony, Gorsuch, the 10th Circuit judge tapped to fill the seat opened up by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, was asked as much by the first senator to open questioning in his Senate confirmation hearing.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked a question about Gorsuch’s independence and whether the Colorado judge would be able to rule against Trump, the president who selected him.

“That’s a softball, Mr. Chairman,” Gorsuch responded. “I have no difficulty ruling for or against any party … and I’m heartened by the support I have received from people who recognize that there’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge. We just have judges in this country.”

The Supreme Court nominee continued, saying he “offered no promises on how I’d rule in any case, to anyone,” adding it is not “appropriate for a judge to do so, no matter who’s doing the asking.”

He later spoke of how he viewed the importance of precedent in coming to rulings from the bench, no matter what the subject of the case.