President Donald Trump will formally announce his pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, which has remained empty since February of 2016. Two Trump administration officials told Independent Journal Review on Tuesday that Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch is Trump’s pick.
A seat on the Supreme Court can only be filled by a presidential appointee who has been confirmed by the Senate.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about Trump’s selection for the Supreme Court.
Who is he?
Judge Neil M. Gorsuch currently serves on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. He was nominated to the position by former President George W. Bush in 2006. At 49 years old, he will be the youngest Supreme Court nominee in nearly 30 years.
John Malcolm, a lawyer at the conservative think tank group Heritage Foundation, called him “very bright, well-respected and quite personable.”
Where did he go to school?
In 1988, Judge Gorsuch was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia University. Then, he received the Harry Truman Scholarship to attend Harvard Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1991.
With the help of the Marshall Scholarship, he received his Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University in 2004.
What about his career?
He clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
In 2005, he joined Bush’s Department of Justice as the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. There, he assisted with department components such as antitrust, civil rights, environment, and tax. He also developed and implemented civil justice initiatives and policies.
Where does he stand on certain issues?
Gorsuch is a fierce opponent of over-criminalization. In a 2013 speech, he highlighted the increase in criminal statutes and said:
“What happens to individual freedom and equality when the criminal law comes to cover so many facets of daily life that prosecutors can almost choose their targets with impunity?”
According to ABC’s The Denver Channel, Gorsuch has never had the opportunity to write an opinion on Roe v. Wade.
However, he did face two cases over the dispute of Obamacare’s requirement that businesses must issue contraceptive services to employees through their health insurance. He ultimately sided with the religious groups and reached the same decision as the Supreme Court.
Justin Marceau, a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, described Gorsuch as:
“…a predictably socially conservative judge who tends to favor state power over federal power.”
How does he compare to his predecessor?
Gorsuch, a Constitutionalist like Justice Scalia, has drawn parallels between the two of them. After Scalia’s death, he said:
“The great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators.”
Both men touted impressive academic resumes and Gorsuch has been called Scalia’s “intellectual equal.” Scalia and Gorsuch have also been recognized for their eloquence in their written opinions.
However, Justin Marceau predicted that if Gorsuch is confirmed, he will be “less combative” than Scalia.
If Judge Gorsuch is confirmed by the Senate, the Republican justices will have a 5-4 majority.