An important moment in history occurred Tuesday night, Jan. 31, when President Trump revealed his nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Neil Gorsuch will be taking the vacant seat held by Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away last February.
The vacant seat has been a controversial topic between the Republicans and Democrats during the last year of former President Obama’s administration. President Trump pick doesn’t automatically fill the vacant position. The nominee must be approved by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and then voted on by the entire Senate.
President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland on March 16, but the Republican majority in the Senate blocked his pick in the final months of his administration. The reason for the delay stemmed from the notion that the impending election was too close for President Obama to appoint a new judge.
This left the Supreme Court Justices as a 4-4 split of conservative and progressive attitudes. Should Neil Gorsuch receive the approval of the Senate, the Supreme Court will see the balance shift toward conservative ideals. The nominee chosen to fill Justice Scalia’s seat will greatly influence the future of the American people.
The responsibility to appoint a new judge fell into the hands of President Trump. The appointment of a new judge to the court is an important moment He made a promise to the American people that he would appoint the best judge possible for the Supreme Court.
“Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue for them when they voted for me for president,” Trump said. “I am a man of my word.”
President Trump wants to evade the problems former President Obama faced when he nominated Judge Garland to the court. Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump encouraged Republican leaders to “go nuclear” if the Democrats move to block his nominee.
According to NBC News, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed how he was confident in the confirmation of Gorsuch, but declined to say if he would consider the “nuclear option” proposed by President Trump.
Trump said Gorsuch should receive a ‘unanimous endorsement’ from Democratic and Republican senators alike, because he was confident Gorsuch will be a great justice.
Gorsuch is currently a federal appellate judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. If he is confirmed by the Senate, the Republicans will have a Scalia-like judge to ensure rulings continue in the conservative tradition in the future.
Although the president is central to the law-making process, the Supreme Court serves as the highest court and the final interpreter of the U.S. constitution. Rulings made by the Supreme Court include issues like abortion, civil rights and the death penalty.
Rulings by the Supreme Court have been made at the university level as well. Most recently in June, the Supreme Court upheld a University of Texas admission plan that allowed race and ethnicity to be considered as a factor for admission, according to the New York Times.
Typically, the Supreme Court takes on the most difficult cases, with implications that go far beyond the parties involved in the dispute. Gorsuch spoke about the role of judges following the nomination made by President Trump on Tuesday.
“It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives,” Gorsuch said. “A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”
The upcoming months will see whether or not President Trump is able to keep his promise regarding the vacancy in the Supreme Court.
Liz Kacher is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]