On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump made one of the most anticipated and important decisions of his administration so far, announcing that he was nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant for nearly a year after the death of conservative legal hero Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch, a graduate of Harvard and Oxford who rose to become a judge at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, comes from a conservative political family and has made rulings that side with the religious right. Most notably, in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the Coloradan sided with private companies to not provide contraception to their employees if they have religious objections. Gorsuch is also only 49, meaning he could serve on the court for as long as the next four decades.
Trump called his deliberations "the most transparent selection process in history," pointing to his widely circulated list of potential nominees that was vetted by conservative groups. "Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president," Trump added.
In his brief remarks after Trump's announcement, Gorsuch called Scalia "a lion of the law" and emphasized that it was the duty of the Supreme Court to interpret laws passed by Congress rather than make policy itself.
Some Democrats in the Senate have signaled that they're preparing to filibuster Trump's selection in retaliation for Republicans' blocking Barack Obama's nominee to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland. It's highly unlikely that that effort will succeed in doing anything more than briefly delaying his confirmation.