Last night, Donald Trump put the speculation to rest and announced his nominee for the Supreme Court – Neil Gorsuch.
Shortly after the election, we ran the odds on some potential Trump picks, but it’s only recently that Gorsuch’s name entered the fray. During his campaign, Trump vowed to appoint a staunch conservative in the “mold of Antonin Scalia”, and he’s done just that with Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch is currently a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, and attended Harvard Law School at the same time as Barack Obama. Though quite conservative, he’s a judge that both Democrats and Republicans have approved in the past.
For Republicans, he’s a great choice to replace the seat left by the late Scalia. His political views and past positions almost eerily mirror Scalia’s. He’s an ardent constitutional originalist, pro-life (though he hasn’t explicitly commented on Roe v. Wade), and opposes what Scalia called “judicial activism”.
But will he be confirmed?
The Democrats are almost certainly going to oppose him. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon has already threatened to filibuster any nomination that isn’t Merrick Garland (Obama’s nominee who was stonewalled by the Republicans), and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer has sworn to fight “tooth and nail” against any pick outside of the mainstream.
But with the Republicans in full control over the Congress, there’s not much the Democrats can do. Even if there is a filibuster, Donald Trump can take what is referred to as the “nuclear option”, and put the nomination to a vote. At that point, even if all the Democrats oppose, the nominee will still be approved.
Still, the Democrats have got to try and if only a few Republicans are swayed to vote against Gorsuch, the search for a ninth Supreme Court justice could continue.
Supreme Court Prop Odds:
Odds Neil Gorsuch is confirmed: 3/17
Odds of a Democrat filibuster: 1/9
Odds the ‘nuclear option’ is used: 1/1
Odds Neil Gorsuch is appointed and votes against Trump’s interests: 3/2
O/U on when the next Supreme Court judge will be appointed: March 15, 2017
Photo credit: “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.