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Former NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte, left, and Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, center, met with current NH Sen. Maggie Hassan on Monday. (FILE PHOTOS)

Sen. Hassan meets with Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., met with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Monday morning and afterwards remained uncommitted on his nomination.

“I will continue to thoroughly vet Judge Gorsuch’s record and views throughout the hearing process,” she said in a statement delivered after the meeting ended, just before noon.

Gorsuch is being escorted to his meetings with senators by former N.H. Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who was present for the meeting with Hassan, according to the senator’s staff. Hassan defeated Ayotte in the November election.

The meeting took place in Hassan’s Washington, D.C., office and lasted about an hour. She declined requests for interviews afterwards.

In her statement, she said they focused on civil rights protections, abortion rights, LGBT issues and campaign finance.

“In our conversation, I highlighted the critical role the judicial branch plays in protecting the civil rights of all Americans, including a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health decisions,” Hassan said.

“I also emphasized the importance of ensuring equality for LGBTQ individuals, as well as my concerns with the influence of unlimited corporate and dark money in American politics.”

The meeting with Gorsuch occurred as many lawmakers returned to the capital from a week of meetings with constituents. Hassan and fellow Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen held a Town Hall in Concord on Friday, where the Gorsuch nomination was a matter of concern.

Both senators said it would not be right for Democrats to oppose a public hearing for Gorsuch after being upset last year when Senate Republican leaders refused to give one to President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

In the same meeting, Hassan and Shaheen said they would not vote for someone who “does not support” reproductive rights for women or civil rights for the lesbian, gay and transgender communities.

Gorsuch and Ayotte met with Shaheen on Feb. 15.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, has indicated that Democrats will mount a procedural challenge, requiring 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate rather than a simple majority to approve Gorsuch.

N.H. Republican Party Chair Jeanie Forrester pointed out that throughout her campaign for Senate, Hassan repeatedly called for a hearing and confirmation of Garland, which the Republican majority refused to allow in an election year.

“Last year, Maggie Hassan argued that the American people deserved nine Supreme Court Justices. If she doesn’t call for an immediate hearing and vote of Judge Gorsuch, she will be in direct contradiction of her past statements,” said Forrester. “

“Millions of voters elected President Donald J. Trump in order to solidify the future direction of the Supreme Court,” she said. “Senator Hassan should remember that her duty is to the American people not a political party.”

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