Donald Trump announced yesterday his nomination for the United States Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch.
So, who is this man that has suddenly become a household name?
Gorsuch, 49, is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court in Colorado, his home state. According to a White House press release, “Judge Gorsuch is a brilliant jurist with an outstanding intellect and a clear, incisive writing style. He is universally respected for his integrity, fairness, and decency. And he understands the role of judges is to interpret the law, not impose their own policy preferences, priorities, or ideologies.”
Because of Gorsuch’s relatively young age, confirmation would mean an additional conservative slant on the court for years to come. In the past, he has strongly favored religious freedom—for instance, he voted in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, a company that objected to the Affordable Care Act’s regulations that required employers to provide free contraception coverage. In his book about euthanasia and assisted suicide, Gosuch wrote “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Also, he takes a broad view of the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable government searches and seizures.
However, a confirmation may be easier said than done. For one, Democrats are still reeling about the fact that Republicans ignored Obama’s nomination, Judge Merrick Garland, for nearly a year after the seat became vacant upon Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death last February.
And apparently, they are up for a fight. In fact, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s nomination as “a very hostile appointment” and “a very bad decision, well outside the mainstream of American legal thought.” Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said, “Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent Justice on the Court. Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch’s fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice.”
Of course, plenty of other politicians approve of the nomination. For instance, Montana Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines says he looks forward to speaking with Gorsuch, who has an established record as “a mainstream judge who doesn’t legislate from the bench.” As Daines said this week, “I know that judge Gorsuch will interpret the rule of law in accordance to the original intent of our founding document—the Constitution.”
Back in 2006, David Lat of Above the Law wrote, “Article III groupies, Judge Neil Gorsuch is one to watch. He’s brilliant, he’s young, and he’s incredibly well-connected. Look for him to rise through the ranks of Supreme Court feeder judges in the years to come — and, perhaps, to be nominated to the Court himself someday.”
Lat’s prediction came true. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if Gorsuch, in fact, becomes our next Supreme Court Justice.