3 things to know about Neil Gorsuch, Trump's Supreme Court pick
On Tuesday night, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court, which has been empty since Scalia's death in February 2016. During his campaign, Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he would nominate a justice who was "as close to Scalia" as he could get, and Gorsuch may just be that person.
Here's what to know about Trump's Supreme Court pick.
In many ways, his views are similar to Scalia's.
Gorsuch is off the charts in similarities to Scalia based on the Scalia Index Score, which measures three key aspects: How often a judge "promote[s] or practice[s] originalism, how often they "cite to Justice Scalia's non-judicial writings" and how often they "write separately." But Gorsuch's judicial rulings aren't always conservative — another trait he shares with Scalia.
Gorsuch, like Scalia, is an originalist, which Scalia once defined as seeing the Constitution as "not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted."
According to Politico, he shares Scalia's basic conservative views on abortion, affirmative action, gun control and capital punishment.
He graduated from Harvard Law with Barack Obama.
Besides attending Columbia for his undergrad and Oxford for a doctorate's in philosophy, Gorsuch also graduated in the same Harvard Law class as former President Barack Obama.
When Gorsuch's name started floating around on Tuesday as one of two prospective picks for Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Norm Eisen, Obama's former ethics czar, tweeted, "Hearing rumors Trump's likely Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch, my (and President Obama's!) 1991 Harvard Law classmate. If so, a great guy!"
Eisen later followed up his tweet with a clarification: "Endorse him as a person, haven't taken position on him as a nominee."
Gorsuch played a key role in the Hobby Lobby lawsuit of 2013.
In 2013, Hobby Lobby was sued for not including contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health insurance. Although Hobby Lobby won the lawsuit, it wasn't until after Gorsuch joined in an opinion by the Court of Appeals arguing that it was against the law for the Department of Health and Human Services to require private corporations to provide contraceptive coverage.
It was just one instance of Gorsuch siding with the popular "religious freedom" argument.