Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, has stated during his confirmation hearing that he considers the question of whether Americans have a right to own guns in the home for self defense purposes to be settled.
He made the comments on day two of his confirmation hearing in the Senate, according to the Huffington Post.
Responding to a question from Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein about his opinion of the Second Amendment, Gorsuch referred to a Supreme Court ruling on the matter, stating,"District of Columbia v.] Heller is the law of the land," the Post reported.
Earlier, he emphasized on the same issue, "Whatever is in Heller is the law, and I follow the law."
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Gorsuch insisted that courts could only overturn legal precedent in rare cases. This prompted a question to him about his attitude to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1974 ruling granting abortion rights to women.
"It has been reaffirmed many times, yes," Gorsuch said.
Asked subsequently what he would have done if Trump had asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch added, "I would have walked out that door."
Trump said during the election campaign he would push for roe v. Wade to be overturned.
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Democrats planned to challenge Gorsuch on what they allege is his lack of independence from Trump, who nominated the former appeals court judge seven weeks ago.
But Gorsuch dismissed this concern.
"That's a softball question, Mr. Chairman," Gorsuch said in response to a question from Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, about his independence from Trump, according to the Washington Post.
Gorsuch went on to explain his attitude to judicial independence, describing how he approached a case.
"I go through it step by step and keeping an open mind through the entire process as best as I humanly can. And I leave all the other stuff at home, and I make a decision based on the facts and the law. Those are some of the things judicial independence means to me," he said.
He denied that he would favor Trump in his rulings.
"I have offered no promises on how I'd rule in any case to anyone," Gorsuch said, according to CNBC. "And I don't think it's appropriate for a judge to do so, no matter who's doing the asking."
But Gorsuch avoided speaking in detail about his attitude to specific laws backed by the Trump administration. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy sought to quiz Gorsuch on his view of Trump's travel ban.
"Anyone, any law, is going to get a fair and square deal with me," Gorsuch told the committee, according to the Washington Post.