On Tuesday, President Donald Trump named Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. If his appointment is confirmed by Congress, he will take up the seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February of last year.
Gorsuch isn’t the first nominee for the position, according to Jason Brandeis, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Justice Center. He sat down with Emily Carlson to discuss what the nomination means for Trump’s legacy and the difficulties facing Gorsuch on the path to confirmation.
“After Justice Scalia passed away, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill that seat,” he explained. “But because the Republicans in Congress and on the Senate Judiciary Committee had control over that process, Judge Garland was not given a vote, did not have a hearing. So whether the Democrats in Congress will put up a similar fight or attempt similar maneuvers remains to be seen.”
Two of Alaska’s congressional delegates have already spoken out in support of the nomination.
“I am pleased with President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and I look forward to meeting with him and discussing issues of importance to Alaskans,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement Tuesday, adding that she gives Trump credit for his “strong” nominee. “With Judge Gorsuch, western states like Alaska get an individual who understands our lives and lifestyles. He is respected by legal scholars across ideological boundaries and is an originalist and textualist in the model of Justice Scalia. There is no quarrel about his extraordinary intellect, his compelling style of writing, and his commitment to justice.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan echoed similar sentiments, saying, “President Trump, in nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, has selected a highly credentialed jurist with the temperament and distinguished career fitting of a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a voice vote to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006, Judge Gorsuch is will within the mainstream of American judicial philosophy and has demonstrated the judgment necessary to garner the support of Republicans and Democrats alike. Judge Gorsuch’s record reflects Justice Scalia’s legacy of textualism and an ardent respect for the Constitution and rule of law. He is poised to make an excellent addition to the Supreme Court.”
Brandeis, like Sullivan and Murkowski, also noted in his interview that Gorsuch’s judicial record and philosophy was “very comparable” to Scalia.