The nomination of Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appellate judge from Colorado, gives Trump and Republicans the opportunity to confirm someone who could cement the conservative direction of the court for decades, writes CNN.
His selection sets up what will hopefully be an intense fight with Senate Democrats, who should still be angry over the Republicans’ decision to ignore President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the empty Supreme Court seat last year.
Unlike others on Trump’s list, Gorsuch has an Ivy League pedigree, having attended Columbia and Harvard, and also studied at Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in legal philosophy.
On the bench he joined an opinion siding with closely held corporations who believed that the so-called contraceptive mandate of Obamacare violated their religious beliefs. The ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Gorsuch wrote separately holding that the mandate infringed upon the owners’ religious beliefs “requiring them to lend what their religion teaches to be an impermissible degree of assistance to the commission of what their religion teaches to be a moral wrong.”
He also wrote a majority opinion in a separation of powers case holding that too much deference was given to administrative agencies. This issue is a favorite of conservatives and Gorsuch’s beliefs align with those of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.
“Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women’s rights, and most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Trump “outsourced this process to far-right interest groups.”
“President Trump said he would appoint justices who would overturn 40 years of jurisprudence established in Roe v. Wade,” Leahy said. “Judge Gorsuch has shown a willingness to limit women’s access to health care that suggests the President is making good on that promise.”
For Democrats, the nomination is made worse by what happened with Garland.