BREAKING: President Donald Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
On Tuesday, January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump announced to the nation his choice for Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor on the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch.
“We are extremely proud of President Trump’s decision to nominate Neil Gorsuch,” said Emily Troscinski, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “Judge Gorsuch has expressed his regard for the fundamental right to life of every human person. It is our hope that as successor to pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia, he will continue to be a voice upholding the value and dignity of human life in the high court.”
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Gorsuch to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Senate confirmed him with a voice vote, according to SCOTUSblog. Gorsuch is 49 years old and hails from Denver Colorado.
So will he follow in the footsteps of Justice Antonin Scalia?
In his article for the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor, writes that Judge Gorsuch is “a well-respected conservative whose legal philosophy is remarkably similar to that of Antonin Scalia.” Ponnuru continues,
“He is, like Scalia, a textualist and an originalist: someone who interprets legal provisions as their words were originally understood.”
Upon the death of Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch said in his tribute to the late Justice:
“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 — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, ‘if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.'”
After Trump announced his nomination to the high court, Judge Gorsuch also made clear that he would act as a “servant of the Constitution and laws of this country,” a mentality that was characteristic of Justice Scalia, whom Gorsuch referred to as a “lion of the law.”
And what’s his record like, from the pro-life perspective?
In 2006, Judge Gorsuch published his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In it, he argues against the two practices, expressing the fundamental right of every person to not be killed. The Princeton University Press described it as:
“A nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization [of assisted suicide and euthanasia], one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate—the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”
In his book, he also makes mention of the Courts decision of Roe v. Wade, saying:
“In Roe, the Court explained that, had it found the fetus to be a ‘person’ for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, it could not have created a right to abortion because no constitutional basis exists for preferring the mother’s liberty interests over the child’s life.”
In his article for the National Review, Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, notes Judge Gorsuch’s dissent in the court’s ruling, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert. The court barred the Governor of Utah from defunding Planned Parenthood, but Gorsuch, who was in support of Planned Parenthood’s defunding, argued against this.
What happens next?
Now, President Trump’s nomination will head to the Senate for confirmation. This means Judge Gorsuch will need a majority vote in the Senate to be confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court.
It is important to note, that a nomination to the Supreme Court is subject to a “cloture” vote in the Senate. When the nominee’s appointment is being debated by the members of the U.S. Senate, 60 votes will be needed to end the debate. This simple majority yes-vote will confirm the nominee’s appointment to the Supreme Court.