President Donald Trump is looking to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court with a nomination his own party can get behind.
President Trump chose Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court on some date.
His nomination was much anticipated as Democrats have been looking to strike back at Republicans since former President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, was never voted in.
At this point, no Democrat has threatened to filibuster, however, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said that he had “serious doubts” about Gorsuch in an interview with CNN.
“Make no mistake, Senate Democrats will not simply allow but require an exhaustive, robust, and comprehensive debate on Judge Gorsuch’s fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice,” Schumer said.
After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016, the court was left with a 4 – 4 split with half the justices more likely to vote conservatively and the other half more likely to vote liberally.
Gorsuch could tilt the scales in favor of conservatives once again with Justice Kennedy being the tiebreaker.
With President Trump’s inauguration, it was highly expected that he would select a conservative to the court.
Gorsuch ruled in favor of the religious freedoms claim made by the owners of Hobby Lobby on the Affordable Care Act that required them to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees.
Although some have pointed to this ruling as evidence of Gorsuch being pro-life, he has never ruled directly on the subject of abortion; he has hinted that he believes life begins at conception.
He has also criticized the practice of assisted suicide citing the “intrinsic value” of human life.
Gorsuch has chided President Trump for calling the Washington judge who ruled against the immigration ban a “so-called judge.”
In a private session with a Democratic Senator, Gorsuch called President Trump’s comments “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
President Trump said on Twitter that Gorsuch’s views were being misrepresented, which is a sentiment that the White House Press Secretary echoed.
“The judge was very clear that he was not commenting on any specific matter, and that he was asked about his general philosophy,” Spicer told reporters during a briefing.
“So you can’t then take that and equate it back to the specific. He literally went out of his way to say I’m not commenting on a specific instance.”
Former Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is a part of the confirmation process issued a statement that disagreed with President Trump’s view.
“While he made clear he was not referring to any specific case, he said that he finds any criticism of a judge’s integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing.”
Some have pointed to Gorsuch’s comments as his way of distancing himself from President Trump and allaying concerns from Democrats and Republicans.
Schumer then criticized Gorsuch for not being vocal enough about President Trump.
“To whisper to a senator but to refuse to say anything public is not close to a good enough show on independence. So from my view, not a good start for Judge Gorsuch. Not a good start,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
Gorsuch has been compared to Scalia, the seat he is replacing in both his philosophy and his writing style.
Gorsuch considers himself an originalist, which follows Scalia originalism. An originalist has “the view that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with its original meaning — that is, the meaning it had at the time of its enactment,” according to the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism.
While Scalia’s style of writing could be scathing at time, Gorsuch takes a much more mild manner in his writing. However, people have pointed to the similarities in their writing as both of them are described as “lively.”
Gorsuch, who is 49, is the youngest person to ever be nominated for this position and it would be expected that he would remain appointed for a long time.
Gorsuch voiced his views on a judge’s work last week that showed some of his philosophy on his decisions and rulings.
“It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives,” Gorsuch said. “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 clerked for two Supreme Court Justices and clerked at the second most important appeals court in the country.
With a Republican majority in the Senate, it is likely that Gorsuch will be confirmed to the seat, but it may not be without a hard fought battle between Democrats and Republicans.