President Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to SCOTUS

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Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, after President Donald Trump announced Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court.
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President Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to the Supreme Court Tuesday night.

Gorsuch is one of the youngest judges ever nominated to the Supreme Court, and may potentially serve on the bench for decades. He is widely accepted as being well-qualified for the job, with an Ivy league pedigree and a long career in Washington. The pick came as a surprise to some, who have observed that Gorsuch embodies the Washington establishment criticized by Trump during his presidential campaign.

Gorsuch has been characterized as a "young Scalia," and his legal philosophy closely mirrors that of his predecessor. He is an originalist and believes in an interpretation of the constitution concurrent with what its authors envisioned.

If confirmed, Justice Gorsuch would create a court akin to Scalia's time, with Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Breyer voting as a liberal wing and Justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito and now Gorsuch voting as the conservative wing. Justice Kennedy remains the swing vote.

But Democrats view the appointment as a stolen seat, after Republicans refused to even hold a hearing for President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland. And they may put up an equally tough fight for Gorsuch. Some Senate Democrats have already announced that they plan to filibuster any Trump nominee who comes before them.

Eric Citron, partner at Goldstein & Russell, former clerk to Justices O'Connor and Kagan and guest contributor to SCOTUSblog gives legal analysis on the nomination.