Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

This photo provided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows Judge Neil Gorsuch. (Source: 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals via AP) This photo provided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows Judge Neil Gorsuch. (Source: 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals via AP)

(RNN) – Calling his qualifications "beyond dispute," President Donald Trump announced he has picked Neil Gorsuch as his Supreme Court nominee.

Trump made the announcement Tuesday from the East Room of the White House. 

Gorsuch, nominated to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado by George W. Bush, is 49 years old. 

"It is an extraordinary resume. As good as it gets," Trump said. 

He will need to be approved by Congress.

"When he was appointed 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, he was approved unanimously. Does that happen anymore? I think it’s going to happen again," Trump said. 

Gorsuch promised to uphold the rule of law, quipping "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." 

The Denver native has served on the federal appeals court’s 10th Judicial Circuit in Denver since the fall of 2006. 

The U.S. Senate approved him for the federal bench on a voice vote. The American Bar Association rated him well-qualified for the position he assumed at age 38.  

Gorsuch clerked for two U.S. Supreme Court justices, Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, and also served a year as deputy associate attorney general with the U.S. Department of Justice.  He is a graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University, where he earned a doctorate in legal philosophy.

He has a decade of experience in private practice with a law firm in the nation’s capital, where he was an associate and later partner. Gorsuch's mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was the first female head of the EPA under President Ronald Reagan. 

He earned his BA from Columbia University in 1988, and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1991.

If confirmed, he would fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who Gorsuch called "a lion of the law."

Scalia died unexpectedly on Feb. 13, 2016, while on vacation at a hunting resort in Shafter, TX.  He had been appointed to the court in 1986 after the resignation of Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Scalia was a strict adherent to the philosophy of originalism, the belief that the Constitution should be interpreted in terms of what the authors meant at the time of ratification. Scalia believed that the Constitution was intended not to facilitate change but to make change more difficult.

He was the anchor of the Court’s conservatives, and became a hero for conservative thinkers and organizations.

Trump is said to have looked at about 20 names in conservative legal circles.

In the end, it came down the three: Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Bill Pryor, former Alabama attorney general and a Bush appointment to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the court last March, but Garland did not get a Senate hearing. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made an election year gamble by betting Republicans would hold on to the Senate and win the White House.

Now, McConnell will shepherd Trump's nominee through confirmation.

“There's a big difference between not approving a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of a highly contested presidential election, and the beginning of a four-year term,” McConnell said.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats won't dwell too much on the Garland snub, but they will eye any nominee carefully.

“Clearly what they did with Garland was wrong, but we're not playing tit for tat here. We want a mainstream nominee because that's the right thing for America,” Schumer said.

Despite Democratic objections, this first high court pick may be Trump's easiest battle, with a guaranteed GOP majority.

That's something that could tip in the 2018 midterms.

Given the age of several justices on the bench, many believe Trump will get another Supreme Court pick during his administration.

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