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Trump picks federal judge from Colorado for Supreme Court

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Judge Neil Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise as President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday to announce Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a fast-rising conservative judge with a writer’s flair, to the Supreme Court today, setting up a fierce fight with Democrats over a jurist who could shape America’s legal landscape for decades to come.

At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter-century. He’s known on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement.

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump declared, announcing the nomination in his first televised prime-time address from the White House.

Gorsuch’s nomination was cheered by conservatives wary of Trump’s own fluid ideology. If confirmed by the Senate, he will fill the seat left vacant by the death last year of Antonin Scalia, long the right’s most powerful voice on the high court.

With Scalia’s wife, Maureen, sitting in the audience, Trump took care to praise the late justice. Gorsuch followed, calling Scalia a “lion of the law.”

Gorsuch thanked Trump for entrusting him with “a most solemn assignment.” And he said, “Standing here in a house of history, I’m acutely aware of my own imperfections and pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution of laws of this great country.”

Some Democrats, still smarting over Trump’s unexpected victory in the presidential election, have vowed to mount a vigorous challenge to nearly any nominee to what they view as the court’s “stolen seat.” President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy after Scalia’s death, but Senate Republicans refused to consider the pick, saying the seat should be filled only after the November election.

Trump’s choice of Gorsuch marks perhaps the most significant decision of his young presidency, one with ramifications that could last long after he leaves office. After an uneven start to his presidency, including the chaotic rollout last week of a controversial refugee and immigration ban, Trump’s selection of Gorsuch appeared to proceed with little drama.

For some Republicans, the prospect of filling one or more Supreme Court seats over the next four years has helped ease their concerns about Trump’s experience and temperament. Three justices are in their late 70s and early 80s, and a retirement would offer Trump the opportunity to cement conservative dominance of the court for many years.

If confirmed, Gorsuch will restore the court to the conservative tilt it held with Scalia on the bench. But he is not expected to call into question high-profile rulings on abortion, gay marriage and other issues in which the court has been divided 5-4 in recent years.

Gorsuch has won praise from conservatives for his defense of religious freedom. In two cases that involved the contraception mandate under the Obama health care law, he sided with businesses and nonprofit groups that voiced religious objections to the requirement that they provide cost-free birth control to women covered under their health plans.

The judge also has written opinions that question 30 years of Supreme Court rulings that allow federal agencies to interpret laws and regulations. Gorsuch has said that federal bureaucrats have been allowed to accumulate too much power at the expense of Congress and the courts.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch identifies himself as a judge who tries to decide cases by interpreting the Constitution and laws as they were understood when written. He also has raised questions about criminal laws in a way that resembles Scalia’s approach to criminal law.

University of Michigan law professor Richard Primus said Gorsuch “may be the closest thing the new generation of conservative judges has to Antonin Scalia.”

Gorsuch, like the other eight justices on the court, has an Ivy League law degree. The Colorado native earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in three years, then a law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White, a fellow Coloradan, and Anthony Kennedy before earning a philosophy degree at Oxford University and working for a prominent Washington, D.C., law firm.

He served for two years in George W. Bush’s Department of Justice before the president nominated him to the appeals court. His mother was Anne Gorsuch, who was head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Reagan administration.

Gorsuch is expected to face intense scrutiny from Democrats. Some liberals have demanded that Democrats block any Trump choice, underscoring the deep partisan discord surging through Washington.

“Now is not the time for business as usual,” MoveOn.org’s Ilya Sheyman said in a statement.

Gorsuch was among the 21 possible choices for the court Trump released during the campaign. Other finalists also came from that list, including Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump’s sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and William Pryor, a federal appeals court judge and Alabama’s attorney general from 1997 to 2004.

If Democrats decide to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, his fate could rest in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump has encouraged McConnell to change the rules of the Senate and make it impossible to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee — a change known in the Senate as the “nuclear option.”

A conservative group already has announced plans to begin airing $2 million worth of ads in support of the nominee in Indiana, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota, four states that Trump won and in which Democrats will be defending their Senate seats in 2018.

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  • Now the Democrats will object. This country is such a total mess because of the political parties and politicians. We need to go totally nonpartisan.

  • A phenomenal choice!! And the Democrats will have a fine time explaining themselves if they try to block confirmation, since the same Senate Democrats unanimously approved him last time. SCOTUS is safe for another generation!

    • Why is Judge Gorsuch a “phenomenal choice?’

      I’m betting that you haven’t read a single brief or decision written by him, and wouldn’t be able to understand anything he writes.

      How did you come up with the falsehood that he was unanimously confirmed?

        • Others in my firm and I have argued cases before the 10th Circuit. Judge Gorsuch is very smart. He’s not the right wing originalist that Trump talked about. But since Trump knows absolutely nothing, that’s not a surprise.

        • IRT Klastri, therefore, when Associate Justice Gorsuch decides on supporting the Texas Planned Parenthood law and make it 5 to 4, will you turn against him?

        • One word asstri, “unanimous”. Democraps are dead. Their only play is DELAY at this point. ALL of President Trumps appointees AND his Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed, leaving you LOSERS high and dry. What a joke your Party is.

  • Looks like it’s time for the democrats to issue marching orders to their angry, sign-waving, low-information protest groups. Like the psychologically damaged women’s groups or the Marxist open borders crowd or any of the endless “oppressed victim” groups that gravitate to the left. “Elections have consequences” as little Barry Hussein once arrogantly told us. After Gorsuch Trump will fill the court with 1 and maybe 2 more conservative justices and 2 or 3 more in his second term.

  • Holy Tostitos! A Staunch Conservative Justice! Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! At last!
    I’d like to see how the Democrats are going to whine & whimper about this pick. “Can I get some (Wine) Whine to go with your Crackers?” This is the Democrats MO.
    Justice Gorsuchs’ credentials are IMPECCABLE! His degrees are from Columbia , Harvard and Oxford! Braaaaah! He even makes Obama look like an intern! Wait now ,wait! Was he a Law Professor or Community Organizer first, then President? I’m sooooooo confused. Haaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    IMHO. The Democrats have no choice,but to CONFIRM President Trump’s Pick. Oh Yeah ! They can Stall, Object,Obstruct ,Reject, and Boycott ALL they want.It’s futile!
    And don’t forget?They can lament “All they want”too and claim that the Justice nomination by Obama, was Stolen from them. Cripes,”Cry Me A River”.
    Pay Attention & Watch this one.”The Stolen Nomination”.You can bet they’ use it. Watch for it ,I know these people.

    Pure Elation!
    Man! The POTUS is again working at Light Speed! Working for ALL the People of the “Good Ole US of A”.Outstanding! IMUA PRESIDENT TRUMP! IMUA!

    • Except that Judge Gorsuch is not a “Staunch Conservative Justice”.

      It was a stolen nomination, of course. That may be the first truthful thing you’ve ever written.

      Are you 12 years old?

    • Agree the democratic nominee was not a “the stolen nomination” since they lost the majority in the Senate in Obama’s 2nd term. Further they shot themselves in the leg when they had the majority and changed the Senate rules in the confirmation process from 2/3 to 51 votes during Obama’s 1st term when the were in the majority. Schumer’s only ploy is to ask for a delay in committee hearing. Once out of committee the confirmation is a “shoe-in”.

  • gorsuch will be a valuable addition to the supreme court.

    expect democrats to go nuclear with their borking during gorsuch’s confirmation hearings and senate floor votes.

    democrat brown shirts who fill this forum with their spam are projecting their own psychotic/neurotic disorders onto triumph, attempting to validate their overblown images of themselves as greatly educated thinkers when they are in fact merely greatly indoctrinated stinkers

      • Write originally..? As in slightly different insults every day, Klastri style..? Too funny. Anyway, it’s nice to see that you find “psychotic” Trump’s pick to be “okay.” Your concession alone must mean it will be difficult for the Dems to hold out for long, and he will be confirmed.

  • This really destroys any doubt about the judgement of President Trump, any question that he is an empty suit is finally put to rest with this outstanding nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch will be nominated and confirmed by the Senate because he believes in rendering judgement based on the Constitution and not on issues of social justice. Great selection, mahalo pumehana President Trump!

    • IRT Maipono: Well said. The public is going to quickly learn what it means to have business and executive experience. That’s the problem with career politicians who don’t have an ounce of business experience. I’m sure the politicians watching President Trump, both Democrats and Republicans, know that they could not manage and organize people like the President has since being elected. It’s a skill you learn in business that most politicians cannot even relate to. Just look at the people the President has selected for his cabinet. Compare the amount of business and executive experience in Trump’s administration compared with the last administration. The country needs to unite behind Trump, despite the efforts of the Democrats and the media trying to discredit every move Trump makes. One more thing. The article says the Republicans may use the “nuclear option”. What isn’t mentioned is that they can thank Harry Reid for that option. I also can’t forget Barbara Boxer waving the gavel and saying “elections have consequences”. Yes, they do Senator.

      • Most of his business experience has been spent failing. Not such a great pedigree.

        He hasn’t failed at the business his dad left to him. That’s one good thing!

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