Trump picks Gorsuch, conservative in Scalia mode, as Supreme Court nominee - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Trump picks Gorsuch, conservative in Scalia mode, as Supreme Court nominee

This article is reprinted with permission from TMN.

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday night Neil M. Gorsuch, a conservative federal judge known for sharing the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s views on issues including abortion, firearms, affirmative action and capital punishment.

Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch could help decide the course of his presidency and have far-reaching consequences for the American legal system for years to come.

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said, standing alongside the judge and his wife, Louise, in the East Room of the White House for the prime-time announcement. “It is an extraordinary résumé — as good as it gets.”

Gorsuch, 49, of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is perhaps best known for his decisions in challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, requiring employers to offer female employees the full range of contraceptives as part of their health insurance. He sided with the Catholic order of nuns Little Sisters of the Poor and the evangelical Christian family owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores.

In the Hobby Lobby decision, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 2014, Gorsuch wrote: “All of us face the problem of complicity” and that the government should not require people with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to be complicit in “conduct their religion teaches them to be gravely wrong.”

In brief remarks Tuesday night, Gorsuch said he’s honored to be nominated to succeed Scalia, his friend, fishing buddy and conservative hero, who died in February. Gorsuch called Scalia a “lion of the law” whose astute legal mind, humor and wit won admiration from conservative and liberal justices alike.

“I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country,” Gorsuch said

Gorsuch would restore the 5-to-4 split between conservatives and liberals on the court, making Justice Anthony M. Kennedy the swing vote.

Neil Gorsuch

Gorsuch, known for his well-written decisions, earned degrees from Columbia University, Harvard Law School and Oxford University. He served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Kennedy. President George W. Bush nominated Gorsuch to the 10th Circuit Court in 2006.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch is known as an “originalist” (who interprets parts of the Constitution as understood when written) and a “textualist” (who bases decisions only on the words of the law, not legislators’ intent or the consequences of the decision).

Gorsuch also is known as a capital punishment supporter and an abortion opponent.

Trump’s pick to replace the late conservative Scalia sets the stage for a showdown in the Senate.

Democratic lawmakers and a host of civil rights, LGBT rights, abortion rights and civil liberties groups fear Trump’s nominee would shift the Supreme Court right on issues including abortion, immigration, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and transgender rights.

Within minutes of Trump’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said: “The burden is on Judge Neil Gorsuch to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream and, in this new era, willing to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the executive branch and protect the constitutionally enshrined rights of all Americans. Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch’s ability to meet this standard.”

Opponents took to Twitter to post anti-Gorsuch messages under #StopGorsuch. They accused the nominee of being “hostile” to civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, reproductive rights and noted he ruled in favor of police in a brutality case.

The Washington-based, conservative Judicial Crisis Network is countering with plans to launch Wednesday its $10 million, high-profile campaign targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats in Red states to try to pressure them into confirming Gorsuch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump’s selection of Gorsuch an “an outstanding decision.”

“He has an impressive background and a long record of faithfully applying the law and the Constitution,” McConnell said.

Democrats are still bristling over Republicans refusing to hold hearings for nine months on former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Schumer threatened Sunday to block Trump’s choice and said “it’s hard for me to imagine” a Trump nominee Democrats would support. “If the nominee is out of the mainstream, we will do our best to keep the seat open,” Schumer told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely would keep the seat open.”

Schumer noted that the preceding four Supreme Court nominees — two nominated by a Republican, two by a Democrat — all received broad bipartisan congressional support.

The senator vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against any nominee who isn’t mainstream and fails to uphold the Constitution and provide a check to the executive branch.

Republicans would need 60 votes to stop a Democratic filibuster but hold only 52 Senate seats.


About the author

Gary Gately

Gary Gately, a seasoned journalist, has won 15 national, regional and local awards for reporting and writing news, investigative, public service, feature, business and travel pieces. Gately’s work has been published by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun (where he worked in reporting and editing jobs for 11 years), Baltimore Examiner, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Newsweek, Arrive Magazine, The Center for Public Integrity, CBSNews.com, CNBC.com, ABCNews.com, USAToday.com, HealthDay, The Crime Report, United Press International and numerous other newspapers, websites and magazines. His coverage has received awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Society of American Travel Writers (first-place Lowell Thomas Award for best newspaper travel story/U.S.-Canada (immigrant New York). Gately also has extensive experience editing for newspapers and websites, has taught college journalism courses in news writing, magazine writing and travel writing and is the author of Maryland: Anthem to Innovation, a book on the state's history, industries and attractions. Contact the author.
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