|President Donald Trump (R) announced Neil Gorsuch (L)|
Tuesday as his nominee to fill the seat left vacant after
the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016
Gorsuch has served on the Tenth Circuit Appeal Court since 2006, where he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by voice vote. A native of Denver, Colorado, he is the son of Anne Gorsuch Burford, Environmental Protection Agency head under Reagan. He received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, where he founded The Fed, a satirical newspaper, along with Andrew Levy, now a Fox News personality. He graduated from Harvard Law School and received a degree from the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar.
Calling Scalia a "lion of the law" at the announcement, Gorsuch is known for his advocacy an originalist, textualist approach in interpreting the Constitution, similar to that of Scalia. Gorsuch will likely most often side with the conservative side of the court should he be confirmed, giving the court a 5-4 conservative majority, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (for whom Gorsuch had once clerked) as the swing vote.
Democrats have begun to announce their opposition to Gorsuch, many angered that Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, received no hearing or vote by the Republican Senate. Sen. Jeff Merkely (D-OR) released a press statement, saying, "This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee (Gorsuch), and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court.”
If more Democrats feel the same way, it could set a lengthy, tense confirmation battle in the weeks ahead.