WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald J. Trump formally nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Alabama Congressional Delegation could not be happier.
Many of Shelby’s colleagues on capital hill echoed the same themes. Alabama’s Republicans were pleased with Gorsuch’s understanding of the Constitution, and applauded President Trump for his selection.
“I have the utmost respect for Judge Gorsuch’s commitment and record of ruling on issues before his court based on rational interpretation of the original intent of the Constitution or law, regardless of his personal opinions,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL5) said. “Judge Gorsuch’s commitment to this fundamental legal philosophy is absolutely essential to preserving the rule of law in our democratically elected representative government, and I look forward to his swift confirmation.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL4) noted that the judge’s record indicates that he will be a solid conservative for years to come. “Judge Neil Gorsuch appears to be an excellent choice to serve on our nation’s highest court,” Rep.Aderholt said. “The most important duty of a Supreme Court Justice is solely to interpret the United States Constitution as it is written. The court does not need activist judges who ignore our founding document and simply write new laws.”
Alabama’s youngest congressman, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL6), hopes that Gorsuch can get on the court as soon as possible. “The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a great choice for our country. I believe he will uphold the Constitution and not legislate from the bench,” he said. “I look forward to my colleagues in the Senate quickly confirming Judge Gorsuch.”
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2) agrees. “There is no question that Judge Gorsuch is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and I urge the Senate to quickly begin confirmation proceedings,” she said. “I applaud President Trump for his selection of such a highly qualified and capable nominee. The addition of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would hasten our government’s return to Constitutional balance and our country’s return to following the rule of law.
Before his nomination, Gorsuch served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He graduated from undergrad with a degree from Columbia University, and he received his law degree from Harvard. His experience with the nation’s highest court goes back decades, as he clerked under to associate justices: Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
Legal scholars agree that Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy is in the same vein as Antonin Scalia. Like Scalia, Trump’s nominee is a textualist who interprets the plain meaning of the law. He also believes the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted in the context that it was understood at the time of its adoption. In 2016, he wrote of his judicial philosophy:
Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) 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 — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best
During his time on the lower court, Gorsuch has ruled in favor of the death penalty, the rights of criminal defendants, religious liberties, and those challenging the administrative capacities of executive agencies. He will no doubt be grilled on these issues and the topic of abortion during his confirmation hearings.
Gorsuch’s nomination is possible due to Republican obstruction of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. In order for Trump’s nominee to finally fill Scalia’s seat, he must obtain the consent of the majority of the Senate.