This evening President Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace the Late Justice Anton Scalia for the last seat of the Supreme Court. This is a tough one because the seat has been vacant for the last year, due to a political standoff between the Senate GOP and Former President Obama. The GOP took a gamble and won, and now will place a strong Conservative to the Supreme Court, staving off a Left Swing of the Court.
Gorsuch has been described as an effective and respected jurist, fitting into the general mold of the recent era of Judges: Ivy-League educated and coming from the Appeals Court ranks. It is a perspective that I wish we shift away from on the Supreme Court frankly, because we are leaving other perspectives that could (and should) influence the court.
In terms of ideology, he seems to be an originalist, meaning that he looks at the Constitution as a unchanging document, and one that should be interpreted strictly. He aligns with Justice Scalia in many areas, from religious freedoms, to the Second Amendment, and even in areas of Defendant rights in court. I would argue that he will be a kinder, more persuasive Scalia, and that is something the Conservative Intellegensia needs right now.
He is very faith conscious as well as Pro-Life. (And in saying that, he is very against assisted suicide and euthanasia, so this extends beyond abortion).
While he looks to be a solid conservative vote on the Supreme Court, I do wonder where he will stand in the event of a constitutional Crisis. Being an Originalist, I wonder what would happen if confronted with a legal challenge to President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order (or any other myriad of situations that could come up). I can see the Supreme Court being one oft he few government institutions able to stand up to the President with little reprisal, and given that Gorsuch is such an originalist, if that bodes well for Trump in the event he comes up against the Supreme Court. Executive Orders are seen as an abuse of power (usually by the party not currently in power), and the Constitution is silent on them, so it will be interesting if that comes up during his confirmation hearings.
Another interesting aspect is that he is close to another Justice, Kennedy. Gorsuch has interned under Kennedy, so they have a history together, and one will wonder who will influence the other moving forward. Given that Kennedy is the central figure in securing Marriage Equality in the United States, and Gorsuch is an unknown on the subject, it will be interesting what will happen if/when a LGBT centric cases comes to the Supreme Court. Conversely, Gursuch is a big advocate for Religious Freedom, and could mix the two when it comes to LGBT issues, so expect this to be brought up during Confirmation.
Truth be told, I do not think that the Democrats will filibuster his nomination, unless something huge comes up, or they are that determined to shut down the nomination on principal, he should be confirmed. This will bring the Supreme Court back up to 9 members. Personally, while I am not happy with the fact that the GOP were successful in their Gambit to deny the Democrats with another Supreme Court pick, simply out of partisanship, I am glad that the vacancy is being filled. We need at least one branch of government working right now, and I would rather have it be the judicial.