Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49, is on President Donald Trump’s short list for appointment to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated a year ago by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch has the typical pedigree of a high court justice. He graduated from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford, clerked for two Supreme Court justices and did a stint at the Department of Justice.
He attended Harvard Law with former President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Obama’s former ethics czar, Norm Eisen, another classmate, tweeted: “Hearing rumors Trump’s likely Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch, my (and President Obama’s!) 1991 Harvard Law classmate.If so, a great guy!”
Since 2006, he has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Colorado. His supporters note that he is an outdoorsman who fishes, hunts and skies. On the court, conservatives hope he could become the intellectual heir to Scalia, long the outspoken leader of the conservative bloc.
“The real appeal of Gorsuch nomination is he’s likely to be the most effective conservative nominee in terms of winning over Anthony Kennedy and forging conservative decisions on the court,” said Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center. “He’s unusual for his memorable writing style, the depth of his reading and his willingness to rethink constitutional principles from the ground up. Like Justice Scalia, he sometimes reaches results that favor liberals when he thinks the history or text of the Constitution or the law require it, especially in areas like criminal law or the rights of religious minorities, but unlike Scalia he’s less willing to defer to regulations and might be more willing to second-guess Trump’s regulatory decision.”
While Gorsuch has a longer Washington resume than other judges considered by Trump, his family’s experience in the city was a searing one.
Gorsuch’s mother, Anne Burford Gorsuch, ran the Environmental Protection Agency at the outset of the Reagan administration. She was forced to resign in 1983, facing a criminal investigation and a House contempt of Congress citation over records related to alleged political favoritism in toxic-waste cleanups. She maintained her innocence and was never charged.
Trump is expected to announce his pick at 8 p.m. Tuesday from the White House.