This week President Donald Trump followed through on a key campaign promise as he nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. True to his word, President Trump selected his nominee from a list made public and hailed by conservatives during the election campaign.
Pleased with the selection of Judge Gorsuch, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, said, “Promise made. Promise kept.” Urging his swift confirmation by the Senate, Johnson added, “This imminently qualified judge has a demonstrated track record of honoring the Constitution and the rule of law. We are especially encouraged by his commitment to religious freedom, America’s first freedom.”
Judge Gorsuch currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. A native of Colorado, he received degrees from Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Oxford University. In addition, Gorsuch clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy and served in the U.S. Department of Justice as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General during the administration of President George W. Bush. In 2006, President Bush nominated him for his current post, and he was confirmed without objection by a Senate that included such Democrat leaders as Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.), Joe Biden (Del.), Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), John Kerry (Mass.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Pat Leahy (Vt.), and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) firm resolve to keep the court vacancy open in the closing months of the Obama Administration essentially allowed the American people to have an indirect say in this nomination. After the announcement by President Trump, Sen. McConnell compared Judge Gorsuch to the late-Justice Scalia, noting that Gorsuch “understands the constitutional limits of his authority.” McConnell added, “He understands that his role as a judge is to interpret the law, not impose his own viewpoint or political leanings. He’s also been recognized from people on both sides of the aisle as a consistent, principled, and fair jurist.”
A number of ministry leaders voiced support for Judge Gorsuch. For example, Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said Gorsuch “is decidedly pro-life and understands what it means to protect the constitutional freedoms afforded to all Americans.” Similarly, Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty Institute, highlighted Gorsuch’s strong religious freedom record at 10th Circuit where, among other cases, he sought to uphold the rights of Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor in their battles against federal government coercion. Shackleford said, “As a religious freedom law firm, we have one criterion… 'Does this candidate have a proven record of upholding the Constitution, especially as it relates to religious freedom?' I am pleased to say that Judge Gorsuch has just such a record, authoring or joining multiple landmark opinions upholding religious freedom."
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: February 3, 2017