New Kid on the Block
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WASHINGTON D.C.– On January 31, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his pick for the empty Supreme Court Justice position that opened up last year. On Tuesday at 8, Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick.
“Judges should instead strive, if humanly and so imperfectly, to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be,” Gorsuch said.
His choice to announce this nomination on such a large scale was modeled after former President George W. Bush’s appointment of Assistant Justice John Roberts. Roberts later continued his career in politics and became Chief Justice.
After the death of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, but Republicans blocked Garland’s confirmation hearing. This move allowed the spot to remain open until after the 2016 election, which allowed Trump to make his nomination.
Gorsuch was one of the few on Trump’s list for the position who went to an Ivy League school. Not only did he attend Columbia and Harvard Law School, but he also studied in Oxford under John Finnis, who now works at the University of Notre Dame and specializes in moral, political and legal theory.
Gorsuch is quite young as he enters the game of politics. And while he is 49, he is considered one of the younger Supreme Court Justices in comparison to others. Many may not know this fact, but when one becomes a Supreme Court Justice, he or she is to hold that position until he dies, resigns, retires, or is removed.
“The president could have nominated an independent or consensus candidate for this seat,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “He chose Neil Gorsuch to be a rubber stamp, just another yes man in this administration.”
Although Gorsuch has written on issues such as the contraceptive mandate and even penned a book making a legal and moral argument against assisted suicide, he has never had the opportunity to write an opinion on Roe v. Wade. His lack of a statement on the issue has raised some concern among pro-life groups, like the Pro-Life Action League and American Victims of Abortion, fearing he might vote pro-choice. However, there are still others from the conservative side, like Senator Steve Daines of Bozeman, Montana, who are confident that he will side with pro-life, if he is ever involved in a hearing on the matter.
An anti-abortion rights group, Susan B. Anthony List, praised Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch, calling him an “exceptional choice.” “President Trump has made an exceptional choice in nominating Neil Gorsuch to carry on the legacy of the late Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court. In nominating Judge Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court,” the group said.