On Tuesday, amidst a prime time televised White House ceremony, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s nomination wasn’t much surprise since he was seen as the most likely choice from Trump’s shortlist. Donald Trump, claiming to be a man of his word, portrayed his decision to nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch as “another campaign promise kept.”
Moments before revealing Neil Gorsuch as his choice for Supreme Court, Trump stated, “I am a man of my word, I will do as I say.” He continued by declaring that “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.” Conservatives, who remain concerned about Trump’s personal beliefs and principles, were thrilled with the nomination. If the Senate confirms Trump’s nominee, Gorsuch will fill the seat of Antonin Scalia, by far the right side’s most powerful influence.
Judge Neil Gorsuch is known for his writings, a smart sense of humor, and the irreproachable beliefs he holds on administrative power, business regulation, guns, and religious liberty. The values that he embraces make him a near-perfect candidate to fill a Republican seat on the Supreme Court. During his speech Tuesday, Gorsuch referred to the late Scalia as “lion of the law.” Ideologically, placing Judge Neil Gorsuch in the seat would restore the balance of the conservative voice and vote. He is not expected, however, to call high-profile rulings on gay marriage and abortion into question.
Hearing rumors Trump's likely Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch, my (and President Obama's!) 1991 Harvard Law classmate.If so, a great guy!— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) January 31, 2017
Gorsuch’s judicial record is quiet regarding hot issues such as abortion. However, he wrote on a similar topic in 2006. An analysis of his book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” may give some insight into his personal views on abortion. In his book, he rejects the case for legalizing euthanasia, and denounces libertarian theory, by stating that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and the taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
Like Scalia, Gorsuch believes that a judge should decide cases by interpreting the laws and Constitution as they were written, suggesting that federal bureaucrats have accumulated entirely too much power. At the ceremony, he gave thanks to President Trump for “entrusting him with a most solemn assignment.” After taking the podium, he said the following.
“Standing here in a house of history, I’m acutely aware of my own imperfections and pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers to permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution of laws of this great country. I consider the United States Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world, and I respect the important role the Constitution affords it in the confirmation of our judges.”
Judge Gorsuch has an Ivy League law degree from Harvard. He spent time clerking for the Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White before earning a degree in philosophy from Oxford University. He then worked for a prominent law firm in Washington D.C. Gorsuch served in the Department of Justice before President George W. Bush nominated him to the court of appeals.
Despite the favorable response to Trump’s nomination, the next few days will be crucial for Gorsuch. If there were any oversights or omissions during the vetting process of his legal, financial, or personal history, they will most likely be exploited by those who oppose the nomination. For some activists, the simple fact Gorsuch was President Trump’s choice is enough to protest. Political Director of CREDO had the following to say.
“Democrats must shut the Senate down if Republicans try to ram through Trump’s nominee. There is no room for collaboration with a thin-skinned, tantrum-prone tyrant who, in just the first few days of his administration, has already displayed reckless disregard for the rule of law.”
Gorsuch will likely face unbending opposition during his confirmation process. In retaliation for the Republicans blocking Barack Obama’s nomination last year, some Democrats have admitted that they would flat-out refuse whomever Trump chose. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley stated that he would filibuster anyone that Trump chooses. He clarified by stating that “this is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat and we will use every lever in our power to stop this.”
Liberal Senator Sherrod Brown, however, wished to wait for the nomination prior to making any decision. Brown said that the Democratic decision should depend upon who Trump names. Since Trump picked a conservative that is considered to be mainstream, the Democrats may hold off on a fight.
The next move lies in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We will soon find out if the Democrats seek to block Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, as the Republicans blocked Merrick Garland for the same seat. If the nomination is blocked, Republicans may employ what is known as the “nuclear option” which will eliminate the filibuster for all Supreme Court nominees. The Democrats used this tactic in 2013. However, there may be more seats at stake during Trump’s presidential rein. The battle over the Supreme Court has begun.
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