President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.
Trump said he had promised to nominate a judge who respected the law and loved the Constitution.
“Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them and I am a man of my word and will do what I say, something the American people have been asking of Washington for a very long time,” Trump said during the primetime announcement.
A Denver native, the 49-year old would be among the youngest nominees for the court. Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when nominated, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan were each 50 when confirmed.
Gorsuch received degrees from Columbia University, Harvard Law School and the University of Oxford and was appointed to the appeals court in 2006 by former President George W. Bush. Prior to that he served as a law clerk for the late Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy — which could make him the first Justice to serve alongside a fellow Justice he clerked for (Kennedy).
“When we judges don our robes, it doesn’t make us any smarter,” Gorsuch said after Trump announced his nomination. “But it does serve as a reminder of what’s expected of us: Impartiality and independence. Collegiality and courage.”
If confirmed, Gorsuch would restore the 5-to-4 split between liberals and conservatives in the land’s highest court.
Justice Scalia and Judge Gorsuch
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 31, 2017