Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the White House, Trump announced his pick to media and administration staff.
Gorsuch, 49, is young for a justice and boldly conservative. He shares much of, and admires, the philosophy of the late Antonin Scalia, a theory of Constitutional interpretation called “originalism.” Gorsuch attended Columbia University, was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, and graduated from Harvard Law School. Gorsuch was nominated to the 10th Circuit in 2006 by George W. Bush.
According to ScotusBlog, Gorsuch has many similarities to Scalia in his judicial philosophy on numerous issues. This includes criminal proceedings, religion, the death penalty and the commerce clause, all hot-button issues for conservatives. However, an “area that seems to demonstrate some real distance between Scalia and Gorsuch” is in Administrative Law. In their view, Scalia often deferred from interfering with administrative agency implementations of their own policies, whereas Gorsuch seems to believe it is the courts’ role to interpret the policies of agencies using a textualist-style approach.
CNN noted that conservatives like his viewpoints on religion. In Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, Gorsuch endorsed the ability of companies to refuse the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act on the basis of their religious beliefs.
Some Democrats have already suggested halting his nomination in the Senate, because they believe the seat was wrongfully stolen from President Obama. President Trump has not taken kindly to such notions.
“If we end up with that gridlock, I would say ‘Mitch, go nuclear,'” Trump said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The nuclear option means McConnell would change Senate procedures and remove the ability for filibustering a nominee to the Supreme Court, essentially requiring an up-or-down vote on Gorsuch.