Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch is President Donald Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the Senate, Neil Gorsuch, 49, would restore the court’s conservative majority, lost with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Senate Democratic leader has said he has “very serious doubts” about Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination.
The court has the final legal word on many of the most sensitive issues, from abortion to gender to gun control.
President Trump said Judge Gorsuch had a “superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to text”.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” he said.
Neil Gorsuch was picked from a shortlist of 21 choices, which Donald Trump made public during the election campaign.
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Accepting the nomination, Neil Gorsuch said: “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”
Judge Gorsuch is a so-called originalist, meaning he believes the US Constitution should be followed as the Founding Fathers intended.
If successful, Neil Gorsuch’s nomination will restore the 5-4 conservative majority on the nine-seat high court.
Protests against Donald Trump’s choice were held outside the Supreme Court following the announcement.
Neil Gorsuch’s nomination is expected to spark a political showdown in the Senate.
Former President Barack Obama had put forward Judge Merrick Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.
However, Republicans refused to debate the choice, saying it was too close to an election, which left Democrats embittered.
Even if Judge Neil Gorsuch makes it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will still face challenges when the entire chamber convenes for a final vote.
Democrats may seek to prevent that second vote by prolonging or filibustering the debate. In that case, the nomination would need 60 votes rather than a simple majority.
With Republicans only holding 52 Senate seats, they may have to change Senate rules in order to approve Donald Trump’s nominee.
The Supreme Court is often the ultimate arbiter on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.
The highest court hears fewer than 100 cases a year and the key announcements are made in June.
Each of the nine justices serves a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.
The Supreme Court already has cases this term on the rights of transgender students, gerrymandered voting districts and on the Texas death penalty determination.
It is also likely the court will hear cases on voter rights, abortion, racial bias in policing and US immigration policy, and possibly on Donald Trump’s controversial executive order banning refugees.
Veteran appeals court judge Merrick Garland has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next US Supreme Court Justice.
The Supreme Court vacancy follows the death of Antonin Scalia last month.
Judge Garland, 63, is viewed as a moderate and has won praise from senior Republican figures.
Barack Obama’s appointment has to be ratified by the Senate, but its Republican majority has vowed to block a vote on any Supreme Court nominee from the current president.
Republicans have called on Barack Obama to leave the nomination to his successor, who will be elected in November.
The death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, left the nine-member Supreme Court evenly divided between conservatives and liberals.
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It also set off a battle in a presidential election year over Antonin Scalia’s successor.
Urging the Senate to support Merrick Garland, Barack Obama said: “He is the right man for the job. He deserves to be confirmed.”
President Barack Obama said Merrick Garland – chief judge of the Washington appeals court and a former prosecutor – enjoyed respect from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Announcing the nomination in the White House Rose Garden, Barack Obama praised Merrick Garland’s decency, integrity and even-handedness during his long career in public service, and described him as an exemplary judge.
Merrick Garland was prepared to serve on the court immediately, he said.
Barack Obama expressed hope that Republicans would act in a bipartisan spirit and give Merrick Garland a “fair hearing”.
The nomination was the “greatest honor of my life”, Merrick Garland said.
Merrick Garland was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1997, winning confirmation in a 76-23 Senate vote, and served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration prior to that.
Republicans again stressed they would defer action on a nomination to the Supreme Court until after the election.
Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said the American people should have a voice in filling the vacancy. He also accused Barack Obama of making the nomination “in order to politicize it for purposes of the election”.
Thousands of mourners have attended a funeral Mass celebrated in Washington for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last weekend at the age of 79.
The service was held in the largest Catholic church in the US.
Antonin Scalia’s coffin had earlier lain in the Supreme Court with President Barack Obama among those paying respects.
The death of Antonin Scalia, who was seen as a hero by the US right, has sparked a political row over his successor.
Thousands of people filled the vast Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on February 20.
One of Antonin Scalia’s nine children, Rev Paul Scalia, led the Mass, ahead of a private burial.
Rev. Paul Scalia, who serves the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, said: “We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more, a man loved by many, scorned by others, a man known for great controversy, and for great compassion.”
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He then added: “That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”
It was because of Jesus that “in confidence we commend Antonin Scalia to the mercy of God”.
The country’s eight remaining Supreme Court justices attended the service.
One of them, Clarence Thomas, offered a Bible reading.
The Supreme Court says more than 6,000 visitors viewed the casket in the Great Hall on February 19.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were among those paying their respects at the flag-draped coffin, but were not at the funeral.
VP Joe Biden was at the Mass – he has a close personal relationship with the Scalia family – as was Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Barack Obama’s attendance could have created security issues.
Ted Cruz has been among those demanding there be no nomination of a successor until after the November presidential election.
Barack Obama has insisted he will go through with the nomination.
Antonin Scalia’s death leaves the Supreme Court evenly divided between liberal and conservative justices ahead of crucial cases on abortion, voting rights and immigration.
According to the constitution, the president nominates justices to the court and the Senate uses its “advice and consent” powers to confirm or reject that person.
Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly at his remote Texas ranch on February 13.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has revealed he is one of the Duck Dynasty fans.
In his lengthy new Q&A with New York Magazine, Antonin Scalia touched on plenty of serious topics, including gay rights, the media and his pop culture diet.
Antonin Scalia admitted to watching at least one episode of Duck Dynasty reality show.
“I don’t watch it regularly, but I’m a hunter,” he told the magazine.
Antonin Scalia admitted to watching at least one episode of Duck Dynasty reality show
“I use duck calls.”
Antonin Scalia explained that his interest in hunting came from his grandfather, who used to take him out to the Long Island woods to shoot rabbits. Aside from the common interest of hunting, it was word of mouth that got him to tune in.
“So many people said <<Oh, it’s a great show>> that I thought I’d better look at it,” he said.
Duck Dynasty, currently airing in its fourth season, has drawn in other celebrity fans as well, including Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead and Dakota Fanning.