U.S. President Donald Trump (right) shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch after nominating him to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Reuters)
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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime job on the U.S. Supreme Court, picking the 49-year-old federal appeals court judge to restore the court’s conservative majority and help shape rulings on divisive issues such as abortion, gun control, the death penalty and religious rights.
The Colorado native faces a potentially contentious confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate after Republicans last year refused to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy caused by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch is the youngest nominee to the nation’s highest court in more than a quarter century, and he could influence the direction of the court for decades.
Announcing the selection at the White House flanked by the judge and his wife, Trump said Gorsuch's resume is “as good as it gets”. Trump said he hopes Republicans and Democrats can come together on this nomination for the good of the country.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous disciple, and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said.
“Depending on their age, a justice can be active for 50 years. And his or her decisions can last a century or more, and can often be permanent,” Trump added.
Gorsuch is a judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was appointed to that post by Republican President George W. Bush in 2006.
Some Democrats in the U.S. Senate, which votes on whether to confirm judicial nominees, have already said they would seek to block whoever Trump nominates.
Gorsuch is considered a conservative intellectual, known for backing religious rights, and is seen as very much in the mould of Scalia, a leading conservative voice on the court for decades.
“I respect ... the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws,” Gorsuch said, as Trump looked on. “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.” (Reuters)