Donald Trump announced on Tuesday night that Judge Neil Gorsuch is his nominee fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia's death.
Calling Gorsuch's qualifications "beyond dispute," Trump predicted the judge would be unanimously confirmed, but alluded to a likely confirmation battle in Congress.
"I only hope that both Democrats and Republicans can come together, for once, for the good of the country," Trump said.
Gorsuch, 49, is a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals who was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush. Though he came across as mild-mannered and genial in his introduction to the nation, he's been widely described as a natural heir to the fiercely conservative Scalia. His nomination re-solidifies the right-wing majority on the Court, which has been left with only eight members since Scalia's death.
He made his name with conservative decisions in cases involving craft store chain Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor Home For The Aged. In both instances, he sided with the plaintiffs, who were challenging a mandate to provide contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. As Fusion's Rafi Schwartz wrote:
In other words, should Judge Gorsuch be confirmed, he could possibly side in favor of those for whom "religious liberty" is used to justify everything from denying certain types of health care to women, to discriminating against members of the LGBTQ community.
Along with his rulings on religious liberty, Gorsuch is known, according to BuzzFeed, for having
written a book and done significant other writing on the topic of assisted suicide. In addition, he has laid out important views on law in more arcane, but nonetheless key, areas involving administrative law — a crucial issue as Trump’s administration begins taking significant executive actions — and the so-called “Dormant Commerce Clause,” which limits state actions hurting out-of-state commerce.
The announcement comes after congressional Republicans spent 9 months stonewalling President Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy, Merrick Garland. While Trump was still a candidate, he cheered the party's efforts to blackball an Obama nominee, taunting, “It’s called delay, delay, delay.”