President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, is scheduled to head to the hill today for confirmation hearings, bringing him a step closer to filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected death last year.
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Gorsuch, 49, is a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. He was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote.
Gorsuch clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He attended Harvard Law and has a Ph.D. from Oxford, where he was a Marshall scholar. In legal circles, he's considered a gifted writer. Like Scalia, he's a textualist and an originalist.
He is the author of "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia," which looks at the legal and ethical issues surrounding assisted suicides. In the book, he concludes that no form of euthanasia should be legalized.
When it comes to religious liberties and access to contraception, Gorsuch is a defender of the First Amendment's free exercise clause, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
He sided with Christian employers and religious organizations in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases. The plaintiffs argued for an exemption from the contraception mandate in President Obama's signature health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, citing their religious beliefs.
In the Hobby Lobby case, Gorsuch wrote, "The ACA's mandate requires them to violate their religious faith by forcing them to lend an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong."
When it comes to criminal procedure, he dissented in the United States v. Carlos case, arguing that police officers violated the Fourth Amendment when they entered a home that had a "no trespassing" sign posted.
What Others Have Said
One of Donald Trump's Supreme Court advisers spoke highly of Gorsuch. "He has very, very distinguished background," Leonard Leo told ABC News' Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast on Jan. 25. "He has probably 200 or so published opinions as an appeals clerk judge. They are extremely eloquently written. They're incisive, understandable, clear, opinionated."
Mark Lucas, the executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, which is backed by Charles Koch and David Koch, said of Gorsuch in a statement, "His concern for the least fortunate is evidenced by his countless opinions against things like overregulation and overcriminalization."
Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley told ABC News that Gorsuch is a "very intelligent person" who would not be that different from Scalia.
Gorsuch has a "coherent and consistent view of the Constitution," Turley said.
And Gorsuch does not have a firm position on abortion, which could help him in the confirmation process, Turley noted.
Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in about 25 years.
ABC News' Jenny Hansler, Jonathan Karl, Erin Dooley, and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.
- Politics & Government
- Neil Gorsuch
- Supreme Court
- 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
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