Secretary of the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch awaits confirmation

Federal Justice by Homer Cummings and Carl McFarland, taken from the fifth floor of the John M. Pfau library.

By Jarrod Walley |Staff Writer|

Judge Neil Gorsuch has been selected by President Donald Trump as a nominee to become the Secretary of the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday Jan. 31, President Trump selected Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado to fill the Secretary of the Supreme Court position that has been vacant after the passing of Judge Antonin Scalia in early 2016.

Compared to some of President Trump’s other nominees, Gorsuch was well received and respected by both parties. However, his nomination is under speculation from the Democratic side.

Gorsuch is more than up to the task with a B.A. from Columbia University, a Law degree (J.D.) from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Oxford University.

This nomination will be an extensive process, for the Secretary of the Supreme Court does not serve in the same way that the other Presidential nominees do.

“Judge Gorsuch’s possible position on the Supreme Court, unlike those of cabinet members, will be on an independent branch of government,” said Brian Levin, a professor of criminal law, “where his lifetime appointment will be immune from the authority of the President to remove him.”

Some of the duties, according to whitehouse.gov, of the Secretary of the Supreme Court include: the overseeing of impeachment hearings and trials, the appointment of judges and lawyers, and the hearing of cases that surpass state law and government.

With this type of position and a term of this length, the minority leader of the Senate Chuck Schumer of New York has proposed a 60-vote confirmation. Therefore, both parties will need to be in favor of Gorsuch; the Republican party cannot sweep the Senate with their majority alone.

Gorsuch must persuade the Democratic members of the Senate that he is the right choice. This could prove difficult due to the Senate’s failure to elect President Obama’s nominee Justice Merrick Garland in 2016.

The division in the Senate is proving to be difficult for both parties to work in bipartisan support: the agendas of each party are conflicting.

“Judge Gorsuch has a similar professional pedigree to most of the justices on the Supreme Court,” said Levin. “For those, however, whose position on qualifications revolves around judicial philosophy, he will be a controversial choice as the nation itself is deeply divided.” 

Students are not as opposed to Gorsuch as they were to the other nominees. Student Johnathan Densmore expressed that he feels confident that Gorsuch will lead the courts for future generations and that he is more than qualified to do so.

Gorsuch is well received by the Democrats for his conservative and narrow view of the Constitution. He also carries similar views and plans to continue in Scalia’s direction while implementing his own judicial views, according to Levin.

Many of the Senators have already met with Gorsuch and their first impressions are rather positive.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spoke favorably of Gorsuch, citing the candidate’s acknowledgment and enforcement of the differences between the branches of government as something Cruz personally favored.

The Senate is planning to vote on Gorsuch’s confirmation by April 2017.

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