President Trump on Tuesday night announced federal Judge Neil Gorsuch as his choice for the Supreme Court, in his highest-profile nomination to date – and one sure to touch off a fierce Senate debate in the weeks ahead.
Touting his nominee’s credentials and legal mind, the president said he was living up to his own vow during the campaign to nominate someone who respects the law and “loves” the Constitution.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said, noting he was confirmed unanimously to his current judicial post.
Gorsuch, 49, has served on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for more than a decade.
Trump’s choice, if confirmed to the high court, would take the seat that has remained vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia died nearly a year ago. The nominee was among Trump’s original list of 21 potential choices circulated during the presidential campaign.
Many have anticipated a fierce confirmation battle, including a filibuster as some Democrats have vowed; however, talk around town has it that the Dems may back off this time:
Washington (CNN) Senate Democrats are weighing whether to avoid an all-out war to block President Donald Trump’s upcoming Supreme Court pick, instead considering delaying that battle for a future nomination that could shift the ideological balance of the court, sources say.
Democrats privately discussed their tactics during a closed-door retreat in West Virginia last week. And a number of Democrats are trying to persuade liberal firebrands to essentially let Republicans confirm Trump’s pick after a vigorous confirmation process — since Trump is likely to name a conservative to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
The reason for the tactic: Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats stay largely united and block Trump’s first pick. By employing the so-called “nuclear option,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could move to reduce the threshold for clearing a filibuster from 60 votes to 51 votes.
That would mean Democrats could lose leverage in the next Supreme Court fight if Trump were to replace a more liberal justice, since the GOP now has 52 seats in the Senate.
Preserving the filibuster now could give Democrats more leverage in the future, proponents of this strategy say. But it would enrage the Democratic base that wants a furious Democratic response to Trump’s court pick.