As evening gave way to night on the final day of January, President Donald Trump nominated Colorado federal appeals judge Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court. According to USA Today, Gorsuch “boasts degrees from Columbia, Harvard Law and Oxford.” If appointed, this will not be Gorsuch’s first time around the Supreme Court. USA Today mentioned Gorsuch was a clerk for two Supreme Court justices in the past.
Luke Helms, a junior public administration major at Harding, said he is excited to see Gorsuch bring conservative values such as pro-life advocacy and a constructionist view of the Constitution.
“Gorsuch will be a very satisfying pick for those who are tired of seeing non-elected officials take over the lime-light,” Helms said. “Gorsuch is seeking to be a judge, not a politician. This will be a breath of fresh air to many.”
The Washington Post states that many Democrats are in strong opposition to the nomination and have promised a battle in retaliation of the Republicans’ blocking of previous president Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. However, the Washington Post goes on to claim that Gorsuch is “popular with Supreme Court justices, and his clerks regularly are hired for a term on the high court, not just by conservatives but also liberals such as Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.”
The Denver Post interviewed many of Gorsuch’s students at Colorado University, where Grosuch has been an adjunct law professor for many years. According to several of his students, Gorsuch can be described as as a man of integrity and intellect who is dedicated to finding the truth despite partisan lines.
In his announcement, President Trump said, “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.”
Junior accounting major Aaron Clements claims the Gorsuch nomination was one of Trump’s safest decisions so far, as he holds conservative values for Trump supporters while also appealing to many in the liberal community, such as 1991 Harvard Law classmate Barack Obama, as well. Clements also believes Gorsuch’s age is beneficial.
“I think it’s notable that Neil Gorsuch is only 49 years old, meaning he could easily serve for 20 years as a justice,” Clements said.
Senior information systems major Nathan Enix says he is nervous about Gorsuch’s nomination not because of his conservative political stances that reflect the late Justice Scalia’s own views, but his younger age in comparison to the rest of the justices. Enix said this fear falls in line with the potential tipping of the partisan scale, especially considering the likelihood that Trump may be able to appoint more justices during his administration.
“If another vacancy opens during Trump’s term, it could quickly become overwhelmingly conservative and stay that way for a long time; especially if nominees are younger like Gorsuch,” Enix said.
Though Gorsuch has officially received the nomination, the New York Times expects there to be a substantial amount of deliberation that might draw out this process, though they claim that is typical in Supreme Court appointments. Regardless, the next Supreme Court justice will tip the partisan scale that is currently balanced between four conservative justices (Thomas, Alito Jr., Roberts Jr. and Kennedy) and four liberal justices (Breyer, Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor).