Who is Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court?

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Who is Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court?

President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gorsuch served for two years in George W. Bush's Department of Justice where he was known for clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement, the AP reported. Gorsuch has contended that courts give too much deference to government agencies' interpretations of statutes.

Gorsuch is also known for opposing assisted-suicide legislation.

Here’s what we know about Neil Gorsuch

• Neil McGill Gorsuch was born and reared in Colorado.

• He is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School where he was a classmate of former President Barack Obama; he has a Ph.D from Oxford where he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship.

• Gorsuch is a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

• He was nominated to the 10th Circuit Court by President George W. Bush in 2006; his nomination was approved on a voice vote.

• If confirmed, Gorsuch, 49, would be the youngest Supreme Court nominee in the last 25 years.

• Gorsuch has clerked for two Supreme Court justices – Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy; he also clerked for Judge David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit.

• If Gorsuch is confirmed, he will be the first judge to work with justices he clerked for.

• Gorsuch supported a 10th Circuit ruling on a suit against the portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to pay for contraception for employees. In Hobby Lobby Stores v Sebelius, the owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores objected to paying for contraception, saying it violated their religious beliefs. Gorsuch wrote that the requirement in the ACA did substantially burden Hobby Lobby owners in the exercise of their religious rights.  

• He is the son of  Anne Gorsuch, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald Reagan.

• He worked for two years in George W. Bush's Justice Department prior to taking his seat on the 10th Circuit Court.

• Gorsuch is considered a textualist – one who follows the letter of the text, in this case, the Constitution.

• He is also considered a originalist – as Scalia was. Originalism holds that the Constitution's meaning is stable from the time it was ratified. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defined "originalism" this way: "The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted."

• According to Eric Citron of ScotusBlog, Gorsuch is “celebrated as a keen legal thinker and a particularly incisive legal writer, with a flair that matches — or at least evokes — that of the justice whose seat he would be nominated to fill. In fact, one study has identified him as the most natural successor to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Trump shortlist, both in terms of his judicial style and his substantive approach. . . . 

• The New York Times reports that Gorsuch has written 175 majority opinions and 65 concurrences or dissents in his decade on the 10th Circuit Court. None of those opinions were on the issue of abortion.

• He wrote a book about euthanasia, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” In it, Gorsuch argued for "retaining the laws banning assisted suicide and euthanasia … based on the idea that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

• He teaches law at the University of Colorado Law School. Gorsuch is an avid skier, fly fisherman and horseback rider.

• Gorsuch and his wife, Louise, have two daughters. They live in Boulder, Colo. 

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