Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

On the night of Tuesday, January 31 President Donald Trump announced his nomination pick for the late Justice Scalia’s vacant seat on the Supreme Court bench, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

In the weeks leading up to the nomination, lists of potential candidates were created by multiple news outlets for people to look into. The night of the official announcement CNBC narrowed the pick down to the two most likely candidates, Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit Appellate Court in Pennsylvania and Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit in Colorado. Gorsuch seemed to be the most popular pick, one that Democrats and Republicans could even possibly come together on and ultimately he won the nomination.

The Constitution states that nine judges will sit on the Supreme Court bench at one time. Once a judge is confirmed to the Supreme Court a judge sits on the bench for life or until they retire. Currently, there are eight judges on the bench, one seat has remained empty since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016.

President Obama was unable to get a new judge confirmed to fill the position with a Republican-controlled Senate. He nominated Merrick Garland, but Republicans wanted a conservative judge to fill the spot of the infamously conservative judge Scalia. Republicans hoped to get a Republican president elected and allow them to fill the spot instead of Obama. Garland was never confirmed. In November of 2016 Donald Trump won the election and in January of this year, he officially became President of the United States. The Republicans in Senate were able to get the conservative judge that they were hoping g for.

Judge Gorsuch has yet to be confirmed but appears to be fairly popular. He often leans right in his views, but he is also a strict constitutionalist. He has shown in his years as a federal judge has shown that he does his very best to interpret the Constitution to the best of his ability and make decisions based more closely on the Constitution rather than his own personal opinions. Senator Ben Sasse (R- Nebraska), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released an essay about the polarization of the Supreme Court and how it’s damaging our republic. The Supreme Court was never meant to be partisan, but to strictly interpret the Constitution. To Sasse, Gorsuch embodies that. Gorsuch once said, “Judges distinguish themselves from politicians by the oath…to apply the law as it is, not to reshape the law as they wish it to be”.

The confirmation process usually takes a couple months and Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed by April is everything goes smoothly. The Senate Judiciary Committee must approve the nomination and then perform confirmation hearings before approving Gorsuch, and then send the nomination to a full Senate vote. According to NPR, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and his party have expressed confidence that the nominee will be confirmed.