US President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil M Gorsuch as his lifetime pick for the US Supreme Court.
Gorsuch, if selected, will occupy the place of the late Justice Anthony Scalia, which, to many pundits, is a like for like conservative replacement. If selected, the 49-year-old, will also be the youngest member of the bench.
"Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," Trump said. "It is an extraordinary resume — as good as it gets."
Trump also hoped that Senate Democrats and Republicans would "put aside their differences" and confirm Gorsuch. Democrats, however, will not easily forget the fact that Senate Republicans refused to confirm President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick P Garland.
Gorsuch was nominated ahead of Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman, who was widely considered to be the choice that could have seen Senate Democrats relenting and confirming Trump's nomination.
Here are 5 things you need to know about Judge Gorsuch
- Gorsuch was in the same class as Obama in Harvard Law School. While his judgments are often conservative, he is also known for sometimes surprising his critics.
- Gorsuch also holds a PhD from Oxford University and has worked as a law clerk at SCOTUS for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He was elected to the federal bench in 2006, by George W Bush.
- Gorsuch is the son of Ann Gorsuch Burford, who was the first female head of the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Ronald Reagan.
- In 2013, Gorsuch, sided with Hobby Lobby and Mardel Inc when they challenged Obamacare's mandate stating that an employer's healthcare plan must cover contraception.
- Gorsuch's critics also claim that one of the issues they have with him is that he interprets the constitution as it was written at that time.