Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: 5 Things You Need to Know

On the night of Tuesday, January 31–on primetime TV, no less–President Donald Trump announced that he is nominating Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Gorsuch will replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away on February 13, 2016. Former President Barack Obama then named Merrick Garland to replace him, but the Republican majority in Congress refused to even hold confirmation hearings, let along a vote, leaving an empty seat on the Supreme Court for almost one year.

There’s a fight brewing in Congress over how to proceed. Some Democrats want to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, while Republicans are considering the nuclear option, which would override the filibuster.

Trump himself has even suggested the nuclear option, saying, “If we end up with that gridlock, I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear. That would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. It’s up to Mitch, but I would say go for it.”

So while a lot of the attention will be on politics, what about Gorsuch himself? Here are five things you should know about our potential next Supreme Court Justice:

1: Background

Gorsuch is 49 years old, which means he’ll likely serve on the Court for decades if confirmed. He’s married, has two daughters and lives in Colorado. Also, he’s a Harvard graduate and has received two awards for outstanding service at the Department of Justice and in the field of law. And his mother was the EPA director under President Reagan.

2: Originalist

Gorsuch is an originalist and textualist, which means that he believes the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founders originally intended and that legal text should be interpreted literally.

3: Hobby Lobby

Gorsuch was involved in the well-known Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, in which Hobby Lobby objected to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate due to their religious beliefs.

He wrote, “The ACA’s mandate requires them to violate their religious faith by forcing them to lend an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong.”

4: Assisted Suicide–But What About Abortion?

Gorsuch published a book in 2006 called The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, in which he declared his opposition to assisted suicide. He wrote, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private person is always wrong.”

While Gorsuch has not ruled on any abortion cases, the above quote may give a hint on where he’ll rule as a Supreme Court Justice regarding life.

5: LGBT Rights

Gorsuch has not delivered a decision on LGBT rights, but regarding court battles in favor of marriage equality, he said, “American liberals has become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box as the primary means of effecting their social agenda.” He added that those in support of equality can only “win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts.”

He does have a record on transgender rights, which you can read in detail here, but liberals won’t be happy.

Politics Village will keep you update on the confirmation fight that’s expected to follow.

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