President Trump's Supreme Court nomination makes good on his campaign promise to name someone similar to the late Justice Antonin Scalia

By Tierney McAfee
Updated February 01, 2017 11:36 AM
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President Trump on Tuesday night announced Neil M. Gorsuch as his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The most important thing the President of the United States can make is the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice, I took the task of this nomination very seriously,” Trump said in a nationally televised, prime-time announcement from the White House. He added that Gorsuch “closely defines what we’re looking for.”

Gorsuch received his undergraduate education from Columbia before earning his law degree from Harvard. He then went on to receive a doctorate at Oxford University as a Marshall scholar.

“He is the man of our country, a man who our country really needs, to ensure the rule of law and justice, I only hope that Democrats and Republicans can come together, for once, for the good of the country,” Trump concluded.

Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

In a highly unusual move, Trump had asked his top three Supreme Court contenders, Gorsuch, William Pryor and Thomas M. Hardiman, to come to the White House on Tuesday ahead of his prime-time announcement.

Trump’s nomination makes good on his campaign promise to name someone similar to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, an iconic conservative whose seat has been vacant for almost a year following his sudden death in February 2016.

But with many Democrats still bitter over Republicans’ refusal to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama‘s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, Trump’s new pick is expected to trigger a contentious battle in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will block Republicans from confirming a nominee who “is not bipartisan and mainstream.”

“I’m hopeful that maybe President Trump will nominate someone that will get bipartisan support — but, yes, we’ll fight it tooth-and-nail as long as we have to,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

Other Senate Democrats have vowed to filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court pick no matter who the president chooses, Politico reported.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley told Politico on Monday morning that he and the majority of his colleagues will filibuster any nominee other than Garland, saying, “This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat. We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”

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The move would require Republicans to muster 60 votes — including at least eight from Democrats — to seat Trump’s nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, already bracing for a fight, said on the Senate floor Monday: “The Senate should respect the result of the election and treat this newly elected president’s nominee in the same way that nominees of newly elected president have been treated. And that is with careful consideration, followed by an up-or-down vote.”

He held up as proof four nominations made by Democratic presidents in the past.

“We had two nominations in the first term of President [Bill] Clinton — [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg and [Stephen] Breyer,” McConnell said. “Both got up-or-down votes. There was no filibuster. We had two nominations in the first term of President Obama — [Sonia] Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagan. No filibuster. Up or down vote. First-term president.”