Judge Neil Gorsuch: What You Need to Know About the SCOTUS Nominee

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Intersect.

On January 31, President Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch to become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Gorsuch currently sits on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served since 2006. He was nominated to the Tenth Circuit by George W. Bush and won confirmation through a non-controversial voice vote in the United States Senate.

According to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate will hold a confirmation vote on Judge Gorsuch before Congress begins a two-week Easter recess on April 7. Should he win confirmation, President Trump’s nominee would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, once again returning the Supreme Court to its full complement of nine justices.

As a nominee, Judge Gorsuch is exceedingly well-qualified. A graduate of Columbia University, he also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. He previously clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy and served as “principal deputy to the associate attorney general and acting associate attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to 2006.”

Gorsuch is a well-respected conservative jurist with “a reputation for legal excellence.” His nomination was met with vigorous support from many who desired to see President Trump select a nominee capable of advancing the legacy of Justice Scalia. Like Scalia, Gorsuch is described as a textualist and an originalist—his fundamental commitment is to “interpret legal provisions as their words were originally understood.” Much can be learned about his judicial philosophy from this portion of a tribute he penned to Justice Scalia after his death:

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, “[i]f 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.

Read the entire article here.