By Anna Kayser
On Tuesday, President Trump announced that he is nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49, to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch graduated from Columbia, Harvard Law School, and Oxford, along with working as a clerk for two Supreme Court justices. In 2006, after serving in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department, he was nominated to the Colorado 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and was confirmed to the court in a unanimous vote. Gorsuch also teaches at the law school at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
“The qualifications of Judge Gorsuch are beyond dispute,” Trump said in the announcement. “I only hope that both Democrats and Republicans can come together, for once, for the good of the country.”
This photo provided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows Judge Neil Gorsuch. (10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals via AP)
Gorsuch holds many of the same values as Scalia did before him, both being proponents of originalism and textualism on the conservative side of the court.
“Although Gorsuch is unquestionably conservative, he is largely the same kind of judge that Scalia was,” said Paul Gowder, a University of Iowa associate professor of law. “Compared with a number of people that Trump could have nominated, he is relatively less extreme.”
Gowder also said Gorsuch is interesting because he has a “pretty good record” of being against executive orders. However, Gowder thinks that Trump will still be pleasantly surprised with his pick.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that after Scalia’s death, he would go forth with the next president’s nomination no matter who won. In a prepared statement from his office, Grassley said he would honor his statement, and he looks forward to getting to know the nominee.
In a prepared statement from his office, Grassley said it is important that Gorsuch has a record of deciding cases based on the text of the Constitution.
“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,” Grassley’s statement said. “By all accounts, he has a record of deciding cases based on the text of the Constitution and the law.”
In a prepared statement from her office, Sen. Ernst, R-Iowa, agreed with Gorsuch’s commitment to following the text of the Constitution.
“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,” Ernst’s statement said. “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.”
Gorsuch is best known for defense of religious freedoms and being an advocate of government regulations under court review. He sided with groups that opposed Obama’s administration requiring that workers’ health insurance include contraception coverage.