Written by Don Byrd

Day one of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings was limited to opening statements by committee members and by the nominee himself. During their opening statements, members often indicate issues that are most important to them, and that they may ask about during the question and answer sessions, which begin Tuesday.

Below are excerpts from the day’s opening statements that explored topics related to religious liberty. (Please note: These embedded videos from C-SPAN do not always show up if you are using a Firefox browser)

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) in his opening statement discussed the impact of the Hobby Lobby case, which Judge Gorsuch heard as a 10th Circuit judge. The Illinois lawmaker clearly rejects the idea that corporations are capable of exercising religion, one key holding of that opinion.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) used a religious liberty example to illustrate the anti-majoritarian emphsais of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) discussed the importance of preserving the careful balance between the free exercise of religion with concerns about its impact on the liberty of others.