>> Do you affirm? On a normal day, the start of the US Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearings would be the biggest story in Washington. But not in a Donald Trump presidency. In his first public statement since Trump nominated him, Neil Gorsuch on Monday doing his best to convince the Senate Judiciary committee of his independence from the president.
Who has recently gone after judges who ruled against his travel ban.>> We tolerate, we cherish different points of view.>> Reuters Supreme Court correspondent Lawrence Hurley.>> In his opening statement Gorsuch made some remarks that made it clear that he want to be seen as independent judge who'd be willing to vote against any president, whether it would be Trump or future president.
That he would be impartial that he wasn't gonna be an activist judge. Kind of the same things that nominees usually says in these hearings. But I think it taken on great importance because of Trump's criticism on judges.>> I just wanna say I'm deeply disappointed that it's under these circumstances that we begin our hearings.
>> The wound's still fresh for Democrats over the Republicans refusal to hold a hearing for President Obama's pick for the high court, Merrick Garland.>> This was brought up repeatedly during the hearing today, and I think a lot of that anger and frustration was aimed at the Republican senators.
It wasn't something they directed necessarily at Gorsuch himself, but the issue is they feel like the Republicans stole that seat on the Supreme Court.>> But the Democratic senators are just getting started as they plan to press the conservative judge on issues like abortion, gun control, and favorable rulings for corporations.
>> There's going to be a lot more drama on Tuesday. This is where kind of the rubber hits the road. When Senator's actually kind of get to grill Gorsuch and he has to at least make an attempt to answer their questions>> And Gorsuch, from what we've seen so far, is very nimble on his feet in this kind of situation.
So he can cite Supreme Court precedent and say that he respects precedent, but he won't sort of go into too much detail.>> The hearings resume Tuesday morning.