Fulfilling a campaign promise to appoint a genuine conservative to the Supreme Court, President Trump designated federal appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado on Tuesday to succeed the late-Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Gorsuch currently sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
“Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text,” Mr. Trump said during remarks following Gorsuch’s appointment.
Following Gorsuch’s introduction, Mr. Trump expressed his hope Gorsuch’s nomination would earn bi-partisan support in a deeply divided Senate.
Despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicating optimism Gorsuch would be confirmed, inflamed passions over the GOP’s refusal to hold hearings for former President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, remain strong among Senate Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has stated repeatedly he will block the nomination unless the president puts forward a “mainstream” candidate. Schumer has not ruled out filibustering and, similarly, some Democrats, particularly Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, have already stated they will vote against any Trump choice.
Democratic intransigence has led to open talk of the GOP invoking the “nuclear option,” in which established Senate rules are overridden and issues or nominations are decided by majority vote.
The son of Anne Gorsuch Burford, President Reagan’s first head of the EPA, Gorsuch, 49, earned a degree from Columbia and his J.D. from Harvard before receiving his PhD from Oxford University. An associate with the Washington, D.C., firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, he rose to partner in 1998.
Following several years in private practice, Gorsuch served in the George W. Bush Justice Department for one year before his nomination to the appeals court in 2006.
A conservative and regarded as an originalist, one who interprets the Constitution as it was written by the Founding Fathers, Gorsuch has distinguished himself through rulings as an advocate of judicial restraint and a critic of misuse of the court system, particularly on social issues.
According to a report in the Washington Post and confirmed by Roll Call, former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte has accepted President Trump’s invitation to lead Judge Gorsuch’s nomination through the Senate.
[Reuters] [Politico] [Photo courtesy NBC News]