With less pomp and circumstance and Chris Harrison than we expected, President Donald Trump announced his pick to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court this evening. Trump has tapped Neil Gorsuch for the bench, rattling off Gorsuch’s academic and professional credentials at a short press conference.
Gorsuch, 49, has all the impressive bona fides of a standard Supreme Court nominee—and many of stances that will alarm Democrats. Here’s what you need to know about the man whose nomination already has progressives plotting their next move.
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He has the best credentials
Gorsuch has earned diplomas from Columbia, Harvard Law, and Oxford. After completing his tenure as a Marshall scholar in the U.K., Gorsuch returned to the United States and clerked for two Supreme Court justices. (Fun fact: he graduated from law school in the same class as former President Barack Obama.)
FWIW, Eisen, who served as Obama’s “ethics czar,” has already taken to Twitter tonight to assert that he “endorse[s] him as a person,” but he hasn’t taken a position of Gorsuch as a nominee.
Anyway, since 2006, Gorsuch has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado, where he’s from.
He believes in originalism
Like Antonin Scalia before him, Gorsuch thinks judges should interpret the law as it was understood at the time that it was enacted—which, given our racist, sexist, bigoted, and all-in-all #problematic past—doesn’t make him a friend to progressives.
And he has taken special issue with efforts to use the courts to spur social reform. You may remember that the court was used for exactly that purpose to achieve marriage equality nationwide, which we think was pretty fantastic. So.
He defended Hobby Lobby, which could cost you your birth control
Gorsuch sided with religious fanatics in the infamous Hobby Lobby decision, asserting that business owners’ religious convictions take precedence over employees’ fundamental rights to access contraception under the Affordable Care Act.
EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock issued a statement on Gorsuch less than 30 minutes after Trump announced his pick, saying, “In nominating Judge Gorsuch, whom Trump promised would work to repeal Roe v. Wade, Donald Trump has once again put women’s access to health care on the chopping block. Especially given the actions by Donald Trump’s administration in his first weeks in office, our country needs a Supreme Court justice who can be an independent check on this out-of-control administration.”
He’s anti-choice—at least, under some circumstances
Gorsuch has written extensively on assisted suicide, which is already legal in some parts of the country and a lesser-known obsession of the pro-life movement. Gorsuch published The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in which he declared that “all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
Rhetoric like that is sure to put pro-choice men and women on high alert, especially as anti-choice organizations cheer his nomination.