While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly promised that if elected President, he would appoint a constitutionalist to serve on the Supreme Court.
And despite doubts from some on the right that a brash New York billionaire would fulfill this promise, the nomination of originalist judge Neil Gorsuch, has all but allayed these fears.
Yes, Gorsuch still requires confirmation which will need the support of some Democrats.
But for now, President Trump should be congratulated, with this nomination representing another significant accomplishment.
The White House is gearing up for a tough confirmation battle after Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime job on the US Supreme Court
The president picked the 49-year-old federal appeals court judge, amid much fanfare, to restore the court’s conservative majority and help shape rulings on divisive issues such as abortion, gun control, the death penalty and religious rights.
The Colorado native faces a potentially contentious confirmation battle in the US Senate after Republicans last year refused to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy caused by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia.
The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, indicated his party would mount a procedural hurdle requiring 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate rather than a simple majority to approve Mr Gorsuch, and expressed “very serious doubts” about the nominee. Liberal groups called for an all-out fight to reject Mr Gorsuch while conservative groups and Republican senators heaped praise on him like “outstanding,” “impressive” and a “home run.”
The White House is planning a major outreach effort to get Mr Gorsuch confirmed. Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, said the White House was planning a series of briefings with House and Senate staff about Mr Trump’s pick, adding that the White House was “going to work really, really hard” to get Mr Gorsuch confirmed.
The son of a former Reagan administration official, Mr Gorsuch is the youngest nominee to the nation’s highest court in more than a quarter century, and he could influence the direction of the court for decades. He is a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was appointed to that post by Republican President George W. Bush in 2006.
Announcing the selection to a nighttime crowd in the White House East Room flanked by the judge and his wife, Mr Trump said Gorsuch’s resume was “as good as it gets.”
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” Mr Trump told an audience that included Scalia’s widow.
“Depending on their age, a justice can be active for 50 years. And his or her decisions can last a century or more, and can often be permanent,” Mr Trump added.
Mr Gorsuch, who was in the same 1991 graduating class from Harvard Law School as Barack Obama, is considered a conservative intellectual, known for backing religious rights and writing against euthanasia and assisted suicide, and is seen as very much in the mold of Mr Scalia, a leading conservative voice on the court for decades.
“I respect … the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws,” Mr Gorsuch said with Mr Trump looking on. “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”
The Senate confirmed Mr Gorsuch for his current judgeship in 2006 by voice vote with no one voting against him.
Democrats signalled it may not be easy this time.
“Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me sceptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court,” Mr Schumer said.