President Donald Trump has chosen Neil Gorsuch, a judge for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado, as his choice to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump made the announcement at a prime-time news conference at the White House Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
Gorsuch would fill the seat left empty by the death of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
Gorsuch, 49, would be among the youngest nominees for the court. Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when nominated, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan were each 50 when confirmed.
10th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gorsuch, a native Coloradan, was appointed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 by former President George W. Bush.
He received degrees from Columbia University, Harvard Law School and the University of Oxford. As a law student he clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. White was also from Colorado.
Gorsuch is an avid outdoorsman, hunting, fishing and skiing in the mountainous state of Colorado.
He admired Scalia, calling the former justice a “lion of the law” during a speech at Case Western Reserve University Law School last year.
According to a revew in SCOTUSblog, a blog written about the Supreme Court by lawyers, and law professors and students, there are strong comparisons between Gorsuch and Scalia.
“The great compliment that Gorsuch’s legal writing is in a class with Scalia’s is deserved: Gorsuch’s opinions are exceptionally clear and routinely entertaining; he is an unusual pleasure to read, and it is always plain exactly what he thinks and why,” SCOTUSblog wrote.
“Like Scalia, Gorsuch also seems to have a set of judicial/ideological commitments apart from his personal policy preferences that drive his decision-making,” the website’s analysis said.
The blog also said one study found him to be the most natural successor to Scalia, in terms of his judicial style and substantive approach.
Law professor Justin Marceau described Gorsuch as “a predictably socially conservative judge who tends to favor state power over federal power,” according to a report by The Denver Post in December 2016.
On the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch has written 175 majority opinions and 65 concurrences or dissents, Rebecca Love Kourlis, a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, told the Associated Press.
Gorsuch has not ruled on abortion, but in 2013, he joined an opinion that said owners of private companies can object on religious grounds to a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide coverage for birth control for women.
He also has written The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, a legal and ethical look at the topic, including an argument against their legalization.
Gorsuch’s mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was tapped by former President Ronald Reagan to be the first female head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
He lives near Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Louise, and their two daughters.