President Donald Trump introduced his nominee for the Supreme Court last week, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado.
Gorsuch’s nomination received mixed response from New York legislators and interest groups.
Conservatives are elated at the prospect of restoring the ideological balance to the Supreme Court bench, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February. The vacancy has been a point of contention, as Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s nominee, as the final months of his last term wound down.
An appeals court judge since 2006, Gorsuch got his start clerking for former Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy from 1993 to 1994. Gorsuch received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and has a law degree from Harvard as well as a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford.
Gorsuch’s originalist political philosophy nearly mirrors that of Justice Scalia, and he believes that Judges should base their decisions on the original intent of the Constitution, with changes allowed only by amendments. Gorsuch echoed this at his nomination press conference, saying “It is for congress, not the courts, to write new laws.”
An originalist philosophy has built Gorsuch’s decision history to lean conservatively, and this is not welcome news for Democrats, who witnessed Judge Garland’s nomination not see a single hearing last year.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx, is calling on U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to oppose his nomination.
“During Barack Obama’s presidency, the Senate Republicans, in an unprecedented and outrageous political act, ensured that the Supreme Court seat would be empty for well over a year and refused to even give a hearing to Merrick Garland,” Dinowitz said. “They did something which has never happened in American history: they stole a Supreme Court seat in hopes of securing a conservative majority… in a gross act of politicization.”
U.S. Senator Gillibrand has voiced opposition to Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy, especially regarding a corporate contraceptive mandate enacted by the Affordable Care Act.
“I fundamentally disagree with his ruling that a boss should be able to make family planning decisions for an employee and that corporations are people,” Gillbrand said. “I plan to stand up for individuals over corporations and oppose his nomination.”
Conservative PACs in New York have come out in support of Gorsuch’s nomination, in hopes that his appointment will tilt the Supreme Court’s ideological balance in their favor.
Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said “President Trump has kept his promise to appoint a Supreme Court justice in the originalist tradition of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks President Trump for keeping his word.”