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Gorsuch Appointed to Supreme Court

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Yulliet Ruiz, News Editor

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Despite the fight put up in the Senate by Democrats, on April 7, the Senate confirmed President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee with a vote of 54-45. On April 10, 2017, Neil Gorsuch, the new Associate Supreme Court Justice, took his oath and was sworn into office.

It’s not a stretch to say that the appointment of Gorsuch is historic. It is the first (and possibly only) appointment by President Trump, and Gorsuch has the potential to change history through his Supreme Court decisions.

This appointment is no joke, but it doesn’t belong to Gorsuch.

This appointment was to fill the vacancy left behind after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.  Former President Obama then nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, but it went nowhere. Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing or vote, claiming that it shouldn’t be filled until the next president takes office. This was absurd for a few a reasons.

First, there were 11 months left in Obama’s term as president, which was more than enough time to hold hearings (Gorsuch’s took two months).  Also, 14 previous presidents had been able to fill Supreme Court spots during election years.

Because Garland was nominated for 11 months, that makes him the Supreme Court justice nominee with the longest nomination process in history. The real reason Senate Republicans didn’t want to fill the seat is because it would shift the balance of the Supreme Court to be more liberal, as it would have more liberal judges than conservative ones.

But the past can’t be changed, and Gorsuch is the new Supreme Court judge. So what does that mean?

On the most basic level, the Supreme Court is still pretty balanced ideologically. Gorsuch will probably be part of the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc, along with Associate Justices Alito and Roberts and Chief Justice Roberts.

Like many conservative judges, Gorsuch is a textualist and originalist, meaning that he believes that the constitution should be interpreted literally and how it was written at the time it was enacted. He also leans towards natural law, which are rights that were given to people by God or nature and can be realized through reasoning.

President Trump pledged to pick a “pro-life” judge and that is the case with Gorsuch. He wrote a book opposing assisted suicide and euthanasia. However, there is no judicial record for him on abortion, but one can assume that he opposes it.

Gorsuch also supports religious freedom. He defended a Christian business in the Hobby Lobby case, where the business refused to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, claiming it violated their religious rights. However, Gorsuch doesn’t only defend the religious freedoms of Christians. He also defended the religious rights of Native Americans and Muslims.

The jury is still out on Justice Gorsuch. He has all the qualifications to make him a “conservative” member of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a lifelong Republican and admires the late Justice Scalia, a hero to many conservatives. Some experts even label Gorsuch as more conservative than Scalia was.

I hold out hope, however, because some of Gorsuch’s previous decisions aren’t all conservative. He doesn’t believe that judges should impose their views onto others. Also, there isn’t a clear view on which way he would lean on overturning Roe v. Wade, something President Trump said he wanted his judicial nominee to do.

Time can only tell if Gorsuch will the be the conservative messiah the Trump administration was looking for.

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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper
Gorsuch Appointed to Supreme Court