Gorsuch announced as Trump's Supreme Court pick

Neil Gorsuch was announced as President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Obama tried to fill the seat after Justice Antonin Scalia passed last year but was blocked by Senate Republicans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Donald J. Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee Tuesday night.

Gorsuch has previously served as judge on the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and clerk for both Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is on the bench today, and Justice Byron White. He was one of the youngest to be appointed to the federal appeals court at 39, according to the Washington Post. Gorsuch also graduated with former President Obama from Harvard Law in 1991, according to Politico.

“(Gorsuch) is a strong conservative in the mold of Justice Scalia,” judicial politics expert and political science professor David Yalof said. “And so, those that wanted Justice Scalia replaced are happy today.”

In order to be confirmed, the nominee must undergo an extensive process of filling out questionnaires, meeting with individual senators, participating in hearings and serving as the subject of debate in committee and on the floor.

“There is less deference with the Supreme Court nominees than with cabinet members,” Yalof said. “Cabinet positions are generally only held during the term of the presidency, but Supreme Court positions are life appointments.”

However, the recent announcement does not come without controversy.

“Had there not been the Merrick Garland (Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court) situation, the Senate Democrats would have acted differently,” Yalof said. “There is a long history of both parties in the Senate recognizing the fundamental fact that when a president wins an election he gets to choose the nominees. This is different because there is a strong belief, especially among Senate Democrats, that this particular pick was for President Obama.”

There is currently speculation that Senate Democrats plans to filibuster, a parliamentary procedure that allows dissenting parties to air grievances in the Senate, according to CNN.

“It is very likely that the Democrats filibuster,” Yalof said. “If the Senate Republicans are united in support where the filibuster is a party line vote and the Democrats are universally united on the other side, it is very likely that the Senate Republicans will then change the procedures of the Senate and eliminate filibusters in the case of Supreme Court Nominees. This has already been done for nominees on the lower courts.”

In spite of the fracturing along party lines, it is likely that Gorsuch will be confirmed, Yalof said.


Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at elizabeth.charash@uconn.edu.