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Elway Offers Opinion To Senate On Neil Gorsuch's SCOTUS Nomination

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - As confirmation hearings got underway for President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch of Denver, John Elway weighed in with a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

"A native of Colorado, Neil has demonstrated tremendous intelligence, character and fairness while serving for more than a decade on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit," Elway wrote. "His credentials, integrity and sound moral compass are major reasons why he's already received so much bipartisan support for his nomination. Neil is a big Denver Broncos fan, and I can tell you that I'm a big fan of his."

(credit: CBS)

Colorado's U.S. senators, Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Michael Bennet, also praised Gorsuch when introducing him to the committee. Gardner called Gorsuch a "guardian of the constitution" saying, "I am certain Judge Gorsuch will make Colorado proud and that his opinions will have a positive impact on this country for generations to come."

Sen.Cory Gardner on Monday (credit: CBS)

Bennet said Gorsuch has outstanding integrity and intellect but said it's tempting to deny him a hearing after Republicans refused to consider President Obama's nominee.

"But Mr. Chairman, two wrongs never make a right. The Supreme Court is too important for us not to find a way to end our destructive gridlock and bitter partisanship," Bennet said.

Sen. Michael Bennet on Monday (credit: CBS)

Gorsuch told the committee he is "honored and humbled" to receive a hearing. He said if judges were "politicians in robes" he'd "hang up the robe," saying even he doesn't like all his rulings.

"Sometimes the answers we reach aren't the ones we personally prefer. Sometimes the answers follow us home at night and keep us up. But the answers we reach are always the ones we believe the law requires," Gorsuch said.

Judge Neil Gorsuch answering questions from senators (credit: CBS)

Gorsuch said the first case he wrote as a judge to reach the U.S. Supreme Court was upheld with two liberal justices concurring and two conservatives dissenting. He also noted in his decade on the Tenth Circuit -- a court made up of liberals and conservatives -- 97-percent of their rulings are unanimous.

"That's my record and that's how we do things in the West. In the West, we listen to one another respectfully. We tolerate, we cherish different points of view," he said.

The 49-year-old judge is a Columbia, Harvard, Oxford graduate.

"Sitting here, I am acutely aware of my own imperfections but I pledge to each of you and the American people that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitutional laws of this great nation," he said.

Gorsuch needs nine Democrats to be confirmed. Democrats on the judiciary committee said he has qualifications but questioned rulings they say favor corporate interests.

Bennet hasn't committed publicly to voting for Gorsuch but said while he doesn't always agree with the judge's rulings he has "unquestionable commitment to the rule of law."

The hearing continues for three more days with a committee vote in two weeks.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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