Neil Gorsuch To Visit Capitol Hill Following Supreme Court Nomination

Tricia Pearson
February 2, 2017

"Unfortunately, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch seems to believe otherwise".

Trump built up the suspense to Monday's Supreme Court announcement, making the revelation in Primetime when much of the country would normally be watching their favorite TV shows.

The seat has been vacant since the death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia in February past year.

The decision was announced after a highly unusual, reality-television-style twist: Trump summoned two of the leading contenders, Gorsuch and Judge Thomas Hardiman, to Washington before the selection.

Within minutes of the announcement, activists with professionally-printed signs were in front of the Supreme Court, promising to fight Gorsuch and questioning his independence.

The "nuclear option", as it is called on Capitol Hill, would allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with 51 votes, instead of the 60 that have traditionally been required in the Senate to break a filibuster.

And with Democrats like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey announcing their opposition before a hearing is even held, Senate Republicans should not hesitate to sidestep a potential filibuster by passing Gorsuch's nomination on a simple majority vote. Republicans blocked Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, for more than 10 months, prompting some Democrats to want to exact retribution.

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The end of the requirement for a filibuster-beating supermajority is the only way the court is ever going to get back to nine.

Gorsuch, 49, is on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the majority leader has made statements declaring that Trump's choice will definitely be confirmed, leading to speculation that he will invoke the nuclear option to ensure that his prediction comes true.

Gorsuch received his undergraduate education from Columbia before earning his law degree from Harvard.

Senators Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, both touted Gorsuch as a judge who adheres to a strict interpretation of the Constitution common among conservative judges.

Democrats are really angry that Republicans didn't confirm Barack Obama's pick past year and want retribution. Amid continuing chaos over the refugee ban and increased resistance from Democrats to Trump's Cabinet nominees, picking a well-respected jurist with a solid conservative reputation might be the most traditionally presidential thing Trump has done in office. The nominee is replacing the late Antonin Scalia, who anchored the Supreme Court's right wing. Gun rights activists are eager for the Supreme Court to expand on a 2008 ruling that found for the first time that there is an individual right to bear arms for self-defense in the home.

The court has the final legal word on numerous most sensitive United States issues, including abortion, gender rights and gun control.

Like Scalia, Gorsuch favors what is known as originalism - the principle that judges should interpret the US Constitution by reverting to how it was understood at the time it was written, with no modern filters. For the nation, this means the Senate would no longer have an institutional check on an unqualified or extremist Supreme Court nominee.

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