President Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court | Jan 31, 2017

Donald Trump nominates Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

– Denver Post

“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, including Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit, who was said to be in Washington in the hours leading up to the announcement.

Though Gorsuch is well-regarded within Colorado’s legal community and nationally, he likely faces a tough confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate.

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 Justice Antonin Scalia, who died nearly a year ago.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said in an interview that he would oppose any candidate who was not Garland. “This is a stolen seat,” he told Politico. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”

The political landscape is sure to put extra pressure on U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado’s one Democrat in the Senate. He did not immediately comment on the nomination, though his Republican counterpart, Cory Gardner, spoke highly of Gorsuch this week.

“He has an incredibly bright legal mind, as well as the ability to separate personal opinion from constitutional interpretation,” Gardner said. “That, I think, is a very important trait of a Supreme Court justice.”

Gardner also noted that 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.

“He is definitely conservative and arguably more conservative than Justice Scalia, who he will be replacing,” said Luis Toro, a spokesman for Courts Matter Colorado, an umbrella organization of advocacy groups that supported a hearing for Garland.

Toro pointed to Gorsuch’s concurring opinion that questioned the Chevron doctrine that gives federal government agencies overarching power to interpret the law.

“What Judge Gorsuch would do is overrule that case and say it’s all up to the courts,” Toro said. “So that would really be shifting the balance of power towards the courts to throw out regulations that they disagree with based on their interpretation of a statute that is admittedly vague or ambiguous.”

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“President Donald Trump has made his choice for the Supreme Court and it is Tenth Circuit judge  Neil Gorsuch, 49.  With the selection, President Trump would be submitting a jurist with unassailable credentials and proven intellect.  He is also someone with a proven conservative record, though there are a few blind spots for those who want a nominee vaccinated against what conservative view as the David Souter  virus — a creeping condition where a conservative gravitates to the left of the Court with time.

Gorsuch comes from what can be viewed as conservative aristocratic stock.  He is the son of David Gorsuch and Anne Gorsuch Burford. His mother achieved fame (or infamy depending on your view) as the first female head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency from 1981 to 1983.  A Reagan appointee, she was forced to resign for failure to turn over documents to Congress in any investigation of Superfund.  She long maintained that she was following the advice of counsel.  Judge Gorsuch spent time in Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown Preparatory School and received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1988.  He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1991 and then received the prestigious  Truman Scholarship and later received a Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University College at Oxford University in 2004 under a Marshall Scholarship.

He went on to  clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1991–1992, and then for United States Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy from 1993–1994.  After going into private practice and becoming a partner, he served as Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, Robert McCallum, at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 until 2006.

It is a stellar resume and Gorsuch is widely viewed as a powerful writer and intellectual leader on the Court.  That should be a comfort to conservatives who lost an intellectual icon in Antonin Scalia.

Unfortunately, Gorsuch would continue the problematic exclusion of all schools but Harvard and Yale law schools from the Court.  Gorsuch graduated from Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford. I have previously written how this exclusion can no longer be dismissed as some colossal coincidence.  When you virtually exclude all but two of the nation’s 160 law schools as sources for justices, it not only reduces the number of outstanding candidates but guarantees a certain insularity in training and influences on the court. This bias is not only elitist but decidedly anti-intellectual.

Gorsuch could prove the perfect addition for a right coalition, particularly in working with the Court’s perennial swing justice — Anthony Kennedy.  As a former clerk to Kennedy, Gorsuch could prove key in any future coalitions.”

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