President Trump picks Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado as his Supreme Court nominee
Tonight in prime-time at the White House President Donald Trump named, Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime U.S. Supreme Court post who could help shape rulings on issues such as abortion, gun control, the death penalty and religious rights, while liberals promised a fight. The choice is set to replace Antonin Scalia, a leading conservative voice on the court who died last February.
Gorsuch has strong conservative credentials with a strong passion for the rulings of the late Justice Scalia. Gorsuch, is a scholar of Scalia and he was appointed to the bench by former Republican President George W. Bush.
He has a strong, Ivy League résumé — Columbia undergrad, Harvard Law — along with a Marshall scholarship to Oxford. There is a partnership at one of Washington’s top litigation law firms and a string of successful cases.
There is a Supreme Court clerkship; Gorsuch was hired by Justice Byron White, a fellow Colorado native, who shared him with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
Neil Gorsuch, requires Senate confirmation. Democrats, still fuming over the Republican-led Senate’s refusal to act on former President Barack Obama’s court nominee last year, girded for a fight. Some Democrats have vowed to do everything in their power to block confirmation.
The court, shorthanded for nearly a year, is ideologically split with four conservative justices and four liberals. Trump’s pick can restore its conservative majority.
Neil Gorsuch, 49, a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, had been told he was the likely nominee. If chosen, Gorsuch would be the youngest U.S. Supreme Court nominee since Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991 selected Clarence Thomas, who was 43 at the time.
Democrats remain enraged because McConnell refused last year to allow the Senate to consider Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacant seat. That action had little precedent in U.S. history.
Gambling that Republicans would win the presidency in the Nov. 8 election, McConnell argued that Obama’s successor should get to make the pick. The move paid off with Trump’s victory, but the court has run shorthanded for nearly a full year.
There will be many of issues that the new justice will face. The Supreme Court justice can have influence for decades after the president who made the appointment has left office. Trump’s appointee could be instrumental in cases involving abortion, gun, religious and transgender rights, the death penalty, presidential powers, environmental regulation and other contentious matters.
Outside groups are ready to battle any nominee.
Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative legal advocacy group, said it would launch the first part of a $10 million media advertisement campaign on Tuesday night in favor of Trump’s pick. The effort will hold Senate Democrats who face election in 2018 “accountable for their choice” on the Supreme Court, the group said.
Liberal groups including People For the American Way and abortion rights advocate NARAL Pro-Choice America planned a nighttime rally in opposition to Trump’s nominee outside the Supreme Court after the announcement.
Some Democrats said they would give Trump’s pick the fair hearing that Republican denied Garland.
“I will give President Trump’s nominee careful consideration on the basis of his or her record and a rigorous review of whether the nominee will defend the Constitution, equal rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-DEL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold confirmation hearings.
Some Democrats have threatened to pursue a procedural hurdle called a filibuster, meaning 60 votes would be needed in the 100-seat Senate unless its long-standing rules are changed. Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, meaning some Democratic votes would be needed to confirm his pick.
Trump said last week he would favor Senate Republicans eliminating the filibuster, a change dubbed the “nuclear option,” for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block his pick.
Some quotes used in this story came from ASSOCIATED PRESS, CNN, and NBC News.