Here’s What You Need To Know About Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

February 1, 2017

Neil Gorsuch has a bad track record when it comes to women’s rights.

In a theatrical display worthy of the reality television star he is, Donald Trump revealed his Supreme Court nominee on live television Tuesday.

“Was that a surprise, was it?” Trump asked smugly as nominee Neil Gorsuch and his wife Louise Gorsuch came to the podium in the East Room of the White House, looking uncomfortable.

Trump injected plenty of drama into the lead-up to the announcement, reportedly summoning another candidate, Thomas Hardiman, to the White House before the big reveal. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that in reality, Hardiman did not actually venture far from home before being told he was not the nominee.

Here’s what we know about Neil Gorsuch so far:

He’s no friend to women. Although Gorsuch hasn’t ever ruled directly on abortion rights, he has ruled in favor of a company’s right to deny its employees insurance coverage for birth control. Pro-choice activists say Gorsuch’s nomination is “an extension of the Trump administration’s attacks on women’s rights.”

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted his concern about Gorsuch’s track record on women’s rights, as well as corporations and campaign finance reform:

He’s very young. At 49, Gorsuch is one of the youngest nominees in Supreme Court history. Since an appointment to the Supreme Court is for life, that means Gorsuch would presumably have many decades to shape United States law, if confirmed.

He admired Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia, who died in 2016 and left the opening Trump hopes to fill with Gorsuch, was an extreme right-winger who consistently ruled against reproductive rights. In an interview with The Denver Post, University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau said if Gorsuch is confirmed, he would “almost certainly [be Scalia’s] equal on conservative jurisprudential approaches to criminal justice and social justice issues.”

He looks to the past, not the future. Gorsuch is what’s called a ‘textualist,’ meaning he considers neither the intent of a law, nor the consequences of a ruling. He looks only at the actual words as written. As he said in a speech at Case Western Reserve University, he believes a judge should “strive…to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be.”

Republicans face an uphill battle in getting Gorsuch approved; Democrats have vowed to fight hard against his confirmation. Although they don’t have enough votes to stop Gorsuch from being approved, they could filibuster his nomination.

Whatever happens, the process is not likely to be a quick one. The three most recent Supreme Court justices were confirmed after 87 days (Elena Kagan, 2010), 66 days (Sonia Sotomayor, 2009), and 82 days (Samuel Alito Jr, 2006).

Image via Twitter.

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