President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees to date are both important and impressive. But the nomination most Americans have been waiting for — his United States Supreme Court nomination to replace the legendary Justice Antonin Scalia — is said to be near.
On January 19, the day before his historic Inauguration, then-President-elect Trump said, "I think in my mind I know who it is. I think you're going to be very, very excited."
Truth be told, I was “very” excited well-before January 19. Like many who supported President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE, I viewed the most important decision facing the next president to be nominees to the United States Supreme Court. I was excited by then-candidate Trump’s campaign announcement of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees.
I was particularly pleased that Mr. Trump’s list included three outstanding Coloradans: Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, and U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Tim Tymkovich. Having followed the careers of all three of these outstanding jurists, I was excited for America that one of them might be named to succeed Justice Scalia. Friends of the conservatism would also have been pleased to see any one of these three Coloradans on the Supreme Court.
But, there is only one vacancy on the Supreme Court right now and Judge Neil Gorsuch has emerged as the frontrunner. On Monday, January 23, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a press conference, “In the next week or so, we should have an update on a nominee.” And, now, we know the president will announce his pick Tuesday evening.
Should Judge Gorsuch be President Trump’s nominee, Americans will surely learn all there is to know about him during his confirmation hearings. And progressive, liberal Democrats, even without knowing the potential nominee, have already pledged to do all they can to impede the confirmation of the President’s nominee.
Here is a brief overview of Judge Gorsuch’s background.
Neil M. Gorsuch was appointed to the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush in May 2006, and confirmed shortly thereafter. He is currently 49 years old. If he is nominated, Judge Gorsuch would be the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in the last 25 years.
Judge Gorsuch attended Harvard Law School and attained a Ph.D. from Oxford University. He clerked for prominent conservative judges Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Colorado’s own Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Judge Gorsuch also served as an official in the Bush Justice Department before his nomination to the Tenth Circuit and has spent time in the private practice of law.
Judge Gorsuch is viewed as a keen legal thinker and a particularly incisive writer. His opinions are exceptionally clear and easy to read. It is always plain exactly what he thinks and why.
It is said that, like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch is an originalist. Recently, SCOTUSBlog said of Judge Gorsuch that “he is an ardent textualist (like Scalia); he believes criminal laws should be clear and interpreted in favor of defendants even if that hurts government prosecutions (like Scalia); . . .; he is highly dubious of legislative history (like Scalia); and he is less than enamored of the dormant commerce clause (like Scalia).”
Judge Gorsuch is also well-known for defending religious rights in his Hobby Lobby opinion in the face of Obamacare and its mandate that businesses and religious non-profits, like, for example, my client, Denver’s Hercules Industries and Colorado’s Little Sisters of the Poor, must, against their sincere religious beliefs, provide abortion-pill coverage in their employee health insurance plans.
In July 2006, Judge Gorsuch’s first book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, was published by Princeton University Press. Judge Gorsuch provides a thorough overview of the ethical and legal issues raised by assisted suicide and euthanasia — as well as the most comprehensive argument against their legalization — ever published. He argues that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong. His views on these issues align with the views of the Centennial Institute which opposed Colorado’s 2016 ballot initiative legalizing assisted suicide.
Judge Gorsuch is likely to espouse similar principles to those espoused by Justice Scalia. He is likely to stand firm on similar doctrinal commitments, to reach similar outcomes, and be an articulate defender of conservative judicial theory.
During his inauguration speech, President Trump pledged to return power to the citizens of America. I believe that is just what Judge Gorsuch will do if he is nominated and then confirmed to the Supreme Court. He values the rights of individuals over the mandates of big government. He is, therefore, a natural choice to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.
While no one can predict how a Supreme Court Justice will come down on any particular case, core conservative principles include appointing judges who will interpret the U.S. Constitution according to its original intent. Judge Gorsuch can be expected to do just that.
Conservatives also seek to protect the rights of conscience for all people and to embrace the role of religion in serving the public good. Judge Gorsuch can be expected to do just that. Conservatives also support a culture of life that recognizes the human rights of the preborn and works to reduce suicide. Judge Gorsuch can be expected to do just that.
Mike Norton served as U.S. Attorney for Colorado from 1988 to 1993 and is a fellow at the Centennial Institute. As a senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, he represented Hercules Industries in it's legal action against the Affordable Care Act's requirement for employees to provide contraception and abortion pills to employees.
The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill