In an announcement streamed on Facebook Live, President Donald Trump announced his pick for the supreme court nominee —Judge Neil Gorsuch, a judge in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado.
Appearing to struggle at times to pronounce Gorsuch’s last name, Trump thankfully managed to stay on script before turning the mic over to Gorsuch, who delivered a short speech that was gracious and thankfully non-inflammatory.
The New York Times reports that at 49, Gorsuch is the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in its history. A graduate of Harvard Law in the same class as former President and man I miss dearly Barack Obama, Gorsuch also holds a Ph.D. from Oxford, and his credentials make him one of the most qualified people Trump has picked for his administration thus far.
Gorsuch is “a reliably conservative figure in the Scalia tradition but not someone known to be divisive,” the Times reports, which feels not great but definitely expected. For further clarification on how Gorsuch and Scalia are cut from the same cloth, here’s SCOTUSBlog’s interpretation:
Like Scalia, Gorsuch also seems to have a set of judicial/ideological commitments apart from his personal policy preferences that drive his decision-making. He is an ardent textualist (like Scalia); he believes criminal laws should be clear and interpreted in favor of defendants even if that hurts government prosecutions (like Scalia); he is skeptical of efforts to purge religious expression from public spaces (like Scalia); he is highly dubious of legislative history (like Scalia); and he is less than enamored of the dormant commerce clause (like Scalia).
The Times also notes that Gorsuch’s record shows his conservative values pretty clearly, noting in particular that he voted in favor of Hobby Lobby using religion as an excuse not to provide contraception coverage to their female employees. According to NPR, Gorsuch has also written a book about the legal and ethical issues associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide, critiquing the principles behind it and defending the “instrinsic value” of human life.
Oh, and here’s a fun fact about his mom, from Politico:
Gorsuch’s mother, Anne Burford Gorsuch, ran the Environmental Protection Agency at the outset of the Reagan administration. She was forced to resign in 1983, facing a criminal investigation and a House contempt of Congress citation over records related to alleged political favoritism in toxic-waste cleanups. She maintained her innocence and was never charged.
While that hopefully has nothing to do with how he’ll act if confirmed, it’s just nice to know all the facts, I guess. This man will be on the Supreme Court for thirty years or longer. It’s good to know what we’re getting into.