Trump picks Neil Gorsuch as nominee for Supreme Court

Ebun Francis with agency reports

President Donald Trump Tuesday nominated Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch for the US Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 49-year-old would restore the court’s conservative majority, lost with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Senate Democratic leader has said he has “very serious doubts” about Judge Gorsuch’s nomination and his party will likely try to frustrate the nomination.

While announcing the supreme court nominee, President Trump described Judge Gorsuch as a “superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to text”.

“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” Mr Trump said.

Accepting the nomination,  Gorsuch said: “”It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”

The nominee is a so-called originalist, meaning he believes the US Constitution should be followed as the Founding Fathers intended and if confirmed, his nomination will restore the 5-4 conservative majority on the nine-seat high court.

Judge Gorsuch stand on key issues

Abortion: He has not spoken out about Roe v Wade, the case which legalised abortion nationwide in 1973, making in difficult to pin down where he stands on the issue.

Birth control: Judge Gorsuch has supported religious institutions which objected to requirements for employers to provide access to contraception. In one of his most high-profile cases, he defended the religious owners of retailer Hobby Lobby who refused to fund birth control via staff health insurance.

Gun rights: He hasn’t ruled directly on firearms restrictions, but is thought to be generally pro-second amendment. He once wrote in a legal opinion that a citizen’s right to bear arms “must not be infringed lightly”.

Euthanasia: He has been vocal about assisted dying, writing a book in 2009 which opposed legalisation.