What to expect from Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings

Gorsuch confirmation
Gorsuch confirmation 01:52

Last Updated Mar 21, 2017 9:17 AM EDT

NEW YORK -- Confirmation hearings begin for President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on Monday.

Judge Neil Gorsuch has been crisscrossing Capitol Hill hoping to win votes for his confirmation.

“I pledge that if I am confirmed I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant to the constitution and laws of this great country,” Gorsuch said in his confirmation speech.

While supporters of the 49-year-old Colorado appeals court judge say he is calm and reasonable, his confirmation hearings may be anything but. 

Supreme Court fight 05:58

Gorsuch himself has criticized the modern confirmation process as an “ideological food fight.”

“I looking forward to the hearings -- asking him some tough questions,” said Senator Al Franken.

Starting Monday, Franken and as many as 19 others on the Judiciary Committee will get to grill Gorsuch, who would fill a seat vacated more than a year ago by the late Antonin Scalia.

“As this nomination process now moves to the Senate, I look forward to working with both sides of the aisle,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch has degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. Democrats are expected to portray him as qualified -- but unfit.

“Everyone is watching,” said Robin Effron, a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

“Does viewing a seat in a partisan way undercut the authority of the court because it’s not supposed to be a partisan body?” CBS News asked her.

“Just because the president who nominated him and the Senate who confirmed him thought of it as a political seat doesn’t mean the justice him or herself have to behave in a political way,” she said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassely has said he expected Gorsuch to be sworn in sometime in April.

“I think he’s going to be an outstanding member of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump said about Gorsuch.

But if the battle turns angry and partisan, it could take much longer.