Gor­such con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing gets un­der­way

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Erica Te­ichert

Since the death of Supreme Court Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia more than a year ago, the high court’s bench has been split 4-4 be­tween Repub­li­can and Demo­crat ap­pointees.

That will change soon after the likely in­stal­la­tion of Neil Gor­such. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nee will face con­gres­sional scru­tiny this week as his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing gets un­der­way.

Gor­such, who cur­rently serves as a fed­eral judge on the 10th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, will an­swer ques­tions from the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee start­ing Mon­day. Gor­such is seen as a nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor to Scalia, with a sim­i­lar ju­di­cial ide­ol­ogy of ad­her­ing closely to the Con­sti­tu­tion’s text and pro­tect­ing busi­ness in­ter­ests.

The Supreme Court nom­i­nee has twice ruled against the Af­ford­able Care Act’s con­tra­cep­tion man­date. In 2013, he sided with Hobby Lobby and ruled busi­nesses should not be re­quired to cover con­tra­cep­tion un­der em­ployer-spon­sored health plans if it con­flicts with com­pany own­ers’ re­li­gious be­liefs. The Supreme Court also ruled in Hobby Lobby’s fa­vor in a 5-4 vote.

Gor­such’s opin­ions on con­tra­cep­tion and as­sisted-sui­cide cases hint that he also op­poses abor­tion rights. Trump pledged he would nom­i­nate a Supreme Court jus­tice who would over­turn Roe v. Wade.

Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings have typ­i­cally homed in on nom­i­nees’ stances on hot-but­ton so­cial is­sues such as abor­tion rights and same-sex mar­riage. But Democrats, in­clud­ing Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, have said they will fo­cus more on Gor­such’s pro-busi­ness record and ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence.

Many Democrats are still an­gry that GOP col­leagues re­fused to vote on Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s nom­i­nee for Scalia’s va­cancy, Mer­rick Gar­land.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky.) has vowed to con­firm Gor­such to his new post by the Easter re­cess, de­spite Democrats’ resistance. McCon­nell will need to se­cure 60 Se­nate votes—more than the 52 Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity—to se­cure the con­fir­ma­tion with­out in­vok­ing the so-called nu­clear op­tion.


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