Tuesday evening President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to replace the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
With this nomination Trump has fulfilled a campaign pledge to nominate an originalist to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was one of the names added to his list of prospective Supreme Court nominees that he released during his campaign.
Gorsuch is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was appointed to the position in 2006. Judge Gorsuch previously served in the Justice Department as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Judge Gorsuch was a Marshall Scholar and received his law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
Gorsuch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate without opposition on July 20, 2006, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Indeed, 11 current Democrat Senators including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-IL), U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Also 20 current Republican Senators were in office when Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote, without opposition. He received a “unanimously well qualified rating” by the American Bar Association.
Gorsuch has received praise among conservatives.
David French, a constitutional scholar, attorney and staff writer at National Review tweeted.
This is a great moment for the Constitution, the rule of law, and individual liberty.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) February 1, 2017
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Law at Princeton University, said the following on Facebook, “Judge Gorsuch, whom I know well, is a faithful constitutionalist and extraordinarily well-qualified. President Trump could not have done better.”
Michael Farris, CEO and General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, in a released statement, “The president promised to appoint justices committed to interpreting the Constitution of the United States as the Founders intended, and Judge Gorsuch’s extensive record reflects that commitment. While ADF does not take a position on the merits of Supreme Court nominees, we are hopeful that Judge Gorsuch will continue to interpret the Constitution faithfully and according to the intent of the Founders. That is essential to protect our first freedom—the right to peacefully live and work consistently with one’s religious beliefs.”
“President Trump has made an exceptional choice in nominating Neil Gorsuch to carry on the legacy of the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. In nominating Judge Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is a distinguished jurist with a strong record of protecting life and religious liberty, as evidenced by his opinions in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, and in his doctoral dissertation in which he wrote that ‘human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable.’ In the coming days, we will mobilize the pro-life grassroots nationwide and in key Senate battleground states to urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Should pro-abortion Democratic Senators choose to filibuster this immensely qualified nominee, they do so at their own political peril,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, said in a released statement.
“I congratulate President Trump for nominating a conservative jurist with outstanding credentials and experience to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is a worthy successor to Justice Scalia, a committed originalist, a strong defender of religious liberty and states’ rights, and a bulwark against the administrative state. I look forward to working with my colleagues for a speedy confirmation and to having another Justice who will defend the Constitution,” U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said in a released statement.
“Like the renowned justice he is set to replace, Judge Gorsuch is brilliant and immensely talented. He has impeccable qualifications, having clerked at the Supreme Court, excelled in private practice, served at the highest levels of the Justice Department, and garnered a stellar reputation over the past decade as an appellate judge. More importantly, though, he also mirrors Justice Scalia in that he has a proven track record of honoring the Constitution, following the text of the law, and refraining from imposing his policy preferences from the bench. As a result of his fidelity to law, he has proven to be a champion of federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, religious liberty, and all of the fundamental liberties enshrined in our Bill of Rights. I couldn’t be happier with his selection,” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Tuesday evening in a released statement.
“Neil Gorsuch is a tremendous pick. When President Trump delivered his inaugural address, he promised to return power back to the people from Washington, D.C. Choosing a strong originalist Supreme Court Justice in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia signals that Trump remains committed to doing just that. Through his record of judicious jurisprudence and his long history of constitutionally sound rulings, we know that Gorsuch will faithfully interpret the Constitution and adjudicate according to the rule of law,” Frank Cannon, president of American Principles Project, said in a statement on Tuesday night.
“Neil Gorsuch is a highly-regarded jurist with a record of distinguished service, rooted in respect for the law. He was confirmed unanimously by Democrats and Republicans. Senator Schumer is about to tell Americans that Judge Gorsuch kicks puppies and heckles piano recitals. That’s hogwash. Democrats are working overtime to cast Judge Gorsuch as a reflexive partisan but, as I said when Justice Scalia died, there are no Republican or Democratic seats on the Supreme Court. This shouldn’t be a partisan debate but an opportunity to teach our kids civics. In the coming weeks, everyone who loves the Constitution should celebrate the uniquely American idea that government power must be limited and that those in power must be checked and balanced,” U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) said in a released statement.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, weighed in on the choice.
“Judge Gorsuch is universally respected across the ideological spectrum as a mainstream judge who applies the law without regard to person or his own preferences. By all accounts, he has a record of deciding cases based on the text of the Constitution and the law. That’s important because in our system of government, Congress, not judges, make the laws. I look forward to continuing to review his qualifications and to hearing from Judge Gorsuch himself about his approach to the law,” Grassley said.
Iowa’s junior senator, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, also praised the choice. “It is critical that the highest court in the land applies the text of the Constitution and statutes impartially. From what I have learned thus far, Judge Neil Gorsuch will demonstrate an unwavering commitment to interpret the law as written, rather than legislating from the bench. The people spoke last November, and our new president has tonight put forward a well-respected nominee who the Senate has previously confirmed with unanimous support. It’s time for Washington to work together – as our constituents expect us to do – and move forward to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with this eminently-qualified nominee,” she said.
Democrats are vowing a fight. Gorsuch will need to win a 3/5ths majority to be confirmed unless Republicans enact the “nuclear option” and change the rules to allow a simple majority.