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Feinstein sees Judge Gorsuch as a threat to Roe vs. Wade and the right to abortion

 (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP/Getty Images)
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP/Getty Images)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, poses a threat to Roe vs. Wade and the right to abortion.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein noted that Trump had promised to appointed “pro-life” justices who would overturn Roe vs. Wade.

This debate “is not theoretical,” she said, addressing Gorsuch at the start of his confirmation hearing. The abortion right “allows women and their doctors to decide what is best for them and their kids, not politicians."

Meanwhile, committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) praised Gorsuch as a judge who will enforce the Constitution’s separation of powers and protect against “executive overreach.”

He teased some of his Democratic colleagues for expressing a newfound interest in this principle now that a Republican is in the White House rather than President Obama. “Some of us have been alarmed by executive overreach, and the threat it poses to the separation of powers, for quite some time,” he said in his opening statement.

Grassley said the committee will spend most of its first day hearing 10-minute statements from each of its 20 members.

Gorsuch is then expected to deliver his opening statement in late afternoon. Questioning will not begin until Tuesday morning.

But Feinstein set out a lengthy agenda of concerns for the committee’s minority Democrats.

She said she was troubled by Supreme Court rulings that allow “billionaires to spend unlimited sums to buy elections," and said she feared Gorsuch might support a 2nd Amendment right for gun owners to have “assault weapons” and “extreme military-style weapons.”

She said she would be looking to see whether Gorsuch is a “reasonable mainstream conservative” and not a right-wing activist.

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