The University of Southern Maine hosted an overflow crowd of 600 people at the Portland Campus' Hannaford Hall on March 5 for a marathon listening session by Sen. Angus King.
For nearly four hours, the former Maine governor listened as dozens expressed their feelings about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and the current Presidential administration.
"(Abraham) Lincoln used to talk about public opinion baths, and I think that is what I had today," King told attendees mid-way through the session.
King was joined on stage by experts Kristine Lucius and Dmitry Bam. Lucius, a former legal and policy advisor on the Senate Judiciary Committee, discussed the confirmation process in the Senate. Bam, an associate professor at the University of Maine School of Law, offered a historical perspective of the Senate's confirmation process and provide information related to the various approaches of legal philosophy and judicial interpretation.
The crowd filled both the main floor and the balcony of Hannaford Hall, spilling into a nearby annex room. The session was originally scheduled to last two hours. Sen. King instead took a break at the two-hour mark and invited people to stay for more.
The long discussion was passionate but civil. The event was sponsored by USM and the University of Maine School of Law.
"It is very fitting that the University would be the place for the scrutiny of ideas, of judgement, of temperment and of values," USM President Glenn Cummings said. "This is the place to do it."
Read the Portland Press Herald coverage here.
Read the Maine Public coverage here.
Read the Bangor Daily News story here.
See the WCSH—TV story here.
See the WMTW—TV story here.
Watch a replay of the listening session below: