Donald Trump nominates Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
Likely faces a tough confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, a selection that gives the fourth-generation Coloradan a chance to become the state’s first high-court justice since Byron White retired in 1993.
Trump made the announcement during a prime-time address at the White House with the Colorado judge present. Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, beat out a slate of 20 other nominees Trump has floated in recent months. On hand was Maureen Scalia, widow to Justice Antonin Scalia, who Gorsuch would replace.
“I’ve always felt that after the defense of our nation, the most important decision a president can make is the selection of a Supreme Court justice,” Trump said. “I’ve selected an individual whose qualities define, really and closely define, what we’re looking for. Outstanding legal skill, a brilliant legal mind and discipline.”
Gorsuch took the podium with his wife Louise at his side.
“It is for Congress, not the courts, to write new laws. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is likely a very bad judge,” Gorsuch said. Turning to Trump, he added, “You’ve trusted me with the most solemn assignment. I am acutely aware of my own imperfections.”
He referred to the U.S. Constitution as “the greatest charter the world has ever known” and the U.S. Senate “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”
Though Gorsuch is well-regarded within Colorado’s legal community and nationally, he likely faces a tough confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate. Liberals immediately decried Gorsuch as an extreme choice while conservatives called him mainstream.
Democrats remain angry that congressional Republicans stalled for months — and ultimately stopped — the nomination of Merrick Garland, the pick that President Barack Obama put forward to replace Scalia, who died nearly a year ago.
The coming clash is certain to shine a spotlight on Michael Bennet, Colorado’s lone Democrat in the Senate. How much he opposes Gorsuch could be a telling indicator of overall Democratic resistance. A statement released Tuesday by a Bennet spokeswoman gave little away.
“As a fellow Coloradan, Michael congratulates Judge Gorsuch and his family. He takes seriously the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. He intends to review Judge Gorsuch’s record carefully in the coming weeks,” wrote Laurie Cipriano, his spokeswoman.
That contrasted with Bennet’s Republican counterpart, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who was on hand at the White House to watch the announcement. Afterward he called Gorsuch a “man of the West” and said it was an “exciting day for Colorado and, more importantly, an exciting day for the country.”
Gardner said Gorsuch would be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to begin meeting with senators. Gardner said “we’ll do everything we can” to get him confirmed.
“This is a judge who puts personal opinions aside and rules on the constitution,” said Gardner, who added he had not spoken with Bennet about the nomination.
Earlier this week, Gardner noted the last time Gorsuch appeared before the Senate — in 2006 when he was up for his current judicial post — he sailed through on a voice vote. “People felt so confident in him and his qualifications that they didn’t even require a recorded vote,” Gardner said.
Still, tensions in Washington remain high at the start of the Trump administration. Democrats have opposed several of Trump’s cabinet officials and executive orders — including a controversial travel ban that could come up when Gorsuch appears before the Senate.
Gorsuch is known as an “originalist” who interprets the Constitution and statutes as they were originally written.
Read more at the Denver Post