WASHINGTON, D.C – On Feb. 1, 2017 President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Democrats strongly oppose Trump’s nomination in fear of cementing the court into a conservative direction for decades.
The high court has been operating with eight justices since the death of Antonin Scalia last February, and Democrats are worried about possible future nominations from the president. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of four liberal justices, turns 84 years old in March, and Anthony Kennedy, a progressive centrist, turns 80 years old. At 49 years old Gorsuch is the youngest high court nominee in 25 years.
Democrats are particularly upset about the confirmation of Gorsuch after Republicans’ refusal last year to consider former President Obama’s replacement, Merrick Garland. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cited that a departing president should not be able to make such a long-lasting decision.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticizes Trump’s selection as “a very hostile appointment” and “a very bad decision, well outside the mainstream of American legal thought.”
“This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the Court,” says Senator Jeff Merkley. He has vocalized his commitment to blocking Gorsuch from the high court position.
President Trump met the criticism with a call for peace between the parties. “I can only hope that both Democrats and Republicans can come together for once for the good of the country.” However, the next confirmed justice may break ties and give strength towards a conservative Court.
Gorsuch is Trump’s only nominee to have an Ivy League pedigree, having attended Columbia and Harvard. He then studied at Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in legal philosophy. He currently sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.