Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49, was nominated by President Donald Trump Tuesday to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump made the announcement in a prime time address from the White House with Gorsuch and Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, at his side.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said.
The Coloradan has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006. He was nominated to the position by President George W. Bush and confirmed unanimously. He said his circuit covers six Western states and 18 million people.
“I respect, too, the fact that in our legal order, it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws,” he said. “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”
Gorsuch was one of the names floated by Trump during the campaign as a potential justice, leading Trump to say, “This may be the most transparent judicial selection process in history.” He said the choice of a Supreme Court justice is a president’s second most important decision after defense, and that millions of his voters had said it was the most important issue to them.
Trump touted Gorsuch’s legal credentials, including a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate from Oxford. After graduating, he clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, who remains on the Court and is often considered its swing vote. Trump said Gorsuch was a man who respected the rule of law and the rule of justice.
At the podium, Gorsuch called the Constitution “the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever known.” He paid tribute to the judges from whom he had learned and called Scalia “a lion of the law.” Scalia’s widow, Maureen, was present for the announcement.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, who will be voting to confirm Gorsuch, released a statement saying, “In nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump has chosen a well-respected judge with a distinguished body of work. The Supreme Court, including the next justice, could determine the course of the law for decades. We need a nominee with a demonstrated record of interpreting the Constitution according to its text, structure, and history. These decisions are weighty – and I don’t undertake them lightly. So I look forward to meeting with Judge Gorsuch soon to talk more in depth about how he sees the role of the Court and his own judicial philosophy.”
Sen. John Boozman released a statement saying, “Millions of Americans went to their polling places on election day to make their voices heard on the type of jurist they want serving on the Supreme Court. They decided to put their trust in President Trump to fill the Court’s vacant seat. I am encouraged by how well respected Judge Gorsuch is in legal circles and how highly experts speak of his intellect, experience and temperament, which are all important qualities for the job. Now that the President has made his selection, we will move forward with the confirmation process. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, regardless of party, will respect the will of the voters and treat him fairly during the confirmation process.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said late Tuesday, “I am both excited and encouraged to hear that the President has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is an accomplished conservative with impressive credentials, whose adherence to our constitution is rock steady. I look forward to his confirmation in the coming days.”
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement saying, “President Donald Trump has selected one of the top legal minds in the United States to serve on the nation’s highest court. Judge Neil Gorsuch has served as a federal judge for over 10 years deciding thousands of cases, which have upheld the rule of law and showed his strong belief that judges should follow the original text of the Constitution, not their own policy preferences. His educational background, legal experience and pure jurisprudence make him an exceptional choice by the president and one that I fully support.”
Second District U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, released a statement saying, “President Trump has nominated a mainstream intellectual and jurist to fill the vacancy left by one of the greatest justices in the history of the Court, Antonin Scalia. I am hopeful the Senate will move swiftly to confirm Judge Gorsuch so that we can return the Court to full strength to do its essential work.”
Third District U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said, “It is my honor to congratulate Judge Neil M. Gorsuch on his nomination to the United States Supreme Court. During his time on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, he has demonstrated a reliable and humble devotion to the rule of the law. I am confident in his dedication to the same conservative values Justice Scalia upheld on the bench.”
Fourth District U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, said, “I congratulate Judge Neil Gorsuch on his nomination to the United States Supreme Court. As has been noted by President Donald Trump, I believe Judge Gorsuch to be a keen legal scholar who will interpret the Constitution strictly. There has never been a more important time for an originalist justice to be on the court as cases affecting the life of the unborn, religious liberty, and private property rights are decided. I hope the Senate quickly confirms Judge Gorsuch as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.”