Last night President Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the bench with someone who shared his originalist judicial philosophy and named 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. It isn’t much of a surprise that Democrats are opposed to Gorsuch, especially considering their client groups in the pro-abortion movement — Planned Parenthood and NARAL — condemned the announcement immediately.
Pro-life groups are pleased with the selection of Judge Gorsuch.
National Right to Life Committee: “As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit since 2006, Gorsuch has not reviewed any state or federal abortion laws. However, he showed support for conscience rights in two cases involving Obamacare mandates. He dissented from a ruling hostile to Utah’s attempts to curb funding for Planned Parenthood (Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert).”
Americans United for Life: “Neil Gorsuch’s nomination shows that President Trump values the legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and is dedicated to ensuring that the Supreme Court is staffed by jurists who respect the Constitution, not by politicians who vote with their policy preferences.”
Susan B. Anthony List: ““President Trump has made an exceptional choice in nominating Neil Gorsuch to carry on the legacy of the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. In nominating Judge Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is a distinguished jurist with a strong record of protecting life and religious liberty, as evidenced by his opinions in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, and in his doctoral dissertation in which he wrote that ‘human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable’.”
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council: “I was pleased to witness President Trump follow through on his promise and select a nominee from the list he presented during the campaign. The president has been very clear on the type of justices that he would appoint: textualists who will not issue rulings based on the shadows of the Constitution.”
American Life League: “We are excited about the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. We firmly believe that he will be a fitting person to fill the seat formerly occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Gorsuch shares the same values and commitment to life as American Life League and its supporters.”
In 2009, Princeton University Press published his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, one of the best American books against euthanasia and the culture of death, in which Gorsuch defended the idea and ideal that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Because of this, he argued, assisted suicide and euthanasia are fundamentally “incompatible with the promise of equal justice under law.”
Trump picked Gorsuch less over any particular issue than his judicial philosophy. In his “2016 Sumner Carnary Memorial Lecture” looking at the legacy of Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch said:
Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, “if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”
Despite being approved unanimously to the Appellate Court a decade ago, Democrats are going to fight like heck to keep him off the Supreme Court, and “reproductive rights” will be a main talking point.
It should be noted that a Justice Gorsuch will not radically alter the make-up of the Supreme Court in the short-term. Replacing the late Scalia means that SCOTUS is still divided four-four-one, with Justice Anthony Kennedy being a swing vote. On moral issues (life, homosexuality, religious liberty) Justice Kennedy has generally swung over with the liberals. The real Supreme Court fight will be over the next retirement/death.