Trump picks Colo. appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court - washingtonpost
President Trump selected Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee on Tuesday, opting for a highly credentialed favorite of the conservative legal establishment to fill the opening created last year by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch, 49, and Hardiman, 51, emerged from a list of 21 as Trump’s most likely choices. A third person on the shortlist — U.S. Circuit Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama — saw his chances diminish as some Senate Republican leaders have said his confirmation would be difficult.
By comparison, Gorsuch was confirmed a decade ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver on a voice vote.
Gorsuch is seen as a less bombastic version of Scalia; he also believes in an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution and would seem destined to be a solidly conservative vote on the ideologically split court. But friends and supporters describe Gorsuch as being more interested in persuasion than Scalia, who was just as likely to go it alone as to compromise.
Senate Democrats have promised a vigorous battle, believing that Republican colleagues “stole” the court opening by refusing to hold even a hearing on former president Barack Obama’s nominee for Scalia’s seat, Judge Merrick Garland. His nomination withered.
Gorsuch would be the youngest Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991. But Gorsuch has been on the bench for a decade, and at his 2006 investiture ceremony, friends joked that his prematurely gray hair was fitting.
“When Neil came to our firm in 1995 he had gray hair,” said one of his law partners, Mark C. Hansen. “In fact, he was born with silver hair, as well as an inexhaustible store of Winston Churchill quotes.”
Indeed, Gorsuch came equipped for the ultimate judicial elevation.
There is a family connection to Republican establishment politics, and service in the administration of George W. Bush. There is a glittery Ivy League résumé — Columbia undergrad, Harvard Law — along with a Marshall scholarship to Oxford. There is a partnership at one of Washington’s top litigation law firms and a string of successful cases.
There is a Supreme Court clerkship; Gorsuch was hired by Justice Byron White, a fellow Colorado native, who shared him with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
In Gorsuch’s words, the law “doesn’t just apply to protect popular religious beliefs: it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs, vindicating this nation’s long-held aspiration to serve as a refuge of religious tolerance.” - Read More