President Donald Trump has selected Neil Gorsuch as his nomination for a position as a Supreme Court justice.
After the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was declined a hearing by Senate Republicans.
“When Justice Scalia passed away suddenly last February, I made a promise to the American people,” Trump said during his announcement Tuesday night. “If elected, I would find the very best judge in the country for the Supreme Court.”
Gorsuch was one of three finalists for the nomination. The other two finalists were William Pryor and Thomas Hardiman.
Gorsuch, 49, is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He is considered by many in the judicial community to be philosophically similar to Scalia.
“As this confirmation process moves forward in the Senate, I look forward to speaking with members on both sides of the aisle,” Gorsuch said. “I consider the U.S. Senate the most important deliberative body in the world.”
He was nominated by former President George W. Bush in 2006 for his current position. Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in about 25 years, according to ABC News.
Gorsuch was born in Denver and moved to Washington, D.C., as a teenager. He earned his bachelor of arts from Columbia University; graduated Harvard Law School, where he received the Truman Scholarship; and obtained a doctorate of philosophy in law from Oxford University, where he received a Marshall Scholarship.
While at Columbia, he helped to found a newspaper, the Federalist, and a magazine, the Morningside Review.
He is considered an advocate for originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers would have more than 200 years ago, and of “extualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted literally, according to NPR.
Grosuch is also a strong defender of the “Free Exercise Clause,” which says Congress cannot make laws regarding religion and the freedom of religious expression.
He sided with Christian religious organizations and employers in the cases of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014 and Zubik v. Burwell in 2016.
Burwell v. Hobby Law was a Supreme Court case focused on whether employers should be required to pay for female employees’ contraceptives under Obama’s health care law.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and said closely held for-profit companies are exempt from a law its owners religiously object to.
Zubik v. Burwell was a case that appeared before the Supreme Court on whether religious institutions other than churches should be exempt from the contraceptive mandate under “Obamacare.” In May 2016, the Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals ruling and returned the cases to their courts of appeals for reconsideration.
Gorsuch is also the author of “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” which looks at the legal and ethical dilemmas surrounding assisted suicides. In the book, he concludes that any form of euthanasia should not be legalized, according to ABC News.
If his nomination is confirmed, Gorsuch would reestablish a 5-4 split on the Supreme Court between conservative and liberal justices.
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