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FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, right, meets with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. on Capitol Hill in Washington. A review of dozens of employment cases Gorsuch heard in his decade at the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reveals a focus on texts and a fondness for scrutinizing definitions of words in legislation and the Constitution. Conservatives herald his strict approach. Many liberals say it too often results in workers losing out. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Dems plan to grill Trump's SCOTUS pick on his pro-corporate leanings. It may be too late.


Dems plan to grill Trump's SCOTUS pick on his pro-corporate leanings. It may be too late.

WATCH  | President Trump's nominee to fill the long empty Supreme Court seat, Neil Gorsuch, is heading into an intense four-day hearing before a Senate panel. Democrats have formulated a line of questioning, but is it too little too late?

Democrat's game plan

Just days before the hearing, Senate leaders in a dramatic press conference unveiled their plan of attack: go after Gorsuch's record of ruling in favor of big corporations over average Americans. 

"He expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful, but when it comes time to rule, when the chips are down, far too often he sides with the powerful few," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, surrounded by people who were negatively impacted by Gorsuch's rulings in the past. 

Too little too late?

Gorsuch was nominated almost two months ago. Democrats quickly vowed a fight, but were soon distracted by other battles over the GOP's plans to replace Obamacare, Trump's tweets and his travel bans. Until now they didn't have a unified message against Gorsuch. 

"We hope it's not too little too late," said Dawn Hucklebridge, senior adviser to policy at People for the American Way.  

GOP ground game 

Soon after his nomination, conservative groups began pouring millions of dollars into ad campaigns panting Gorsuch as a level-headed, moderate constitutionalist who everyone can get behind.

Democrats have spent just a fraction of that on anti-Gorsuch campaigns. 

"There are moneyed interested behind the push to paint Gorsuch in a certain way. We are fighting an uphill battle but I do think it’s one that we can win," said Hucklebridge.

The real fight will be on the floor

While Gorsuch will surely face some intense questioning in his hearing, with the Republicans in control, he's pretty much guaranteed to make it through. 

But it takes 60 votes in the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court Justice, which means Republicans will need to convince 8 Democrats to support Gorsuch. 

Democrats will have to filibuster on the floor, and the outcome will largely depend on public opinion. 

Winning public opinion

There is the threat that Republicans could "go nuclear" and change Senate rules to allow for a simple majority confirmation vote. 

Democrats and activist groups hope that by highlighting Gorsuch's record as being consistently pro-corporate, they can keep the American public on their side to prevent Republicans from making an unpopular decision. 

"Our goal is to defeat this nomination," Hucklebridge said. 

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