Washington, Feb 1: Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge, was today nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, making him the youngest nominee in 25 years who could shape the top court's conservative bent and tilt the balance on divisive issues such as gun-control and religious equality.
Gorsuch, 49, is Trump's pick to fill a vacancy caused by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago. He currently serves in the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Colorado and was among a group of federal judges reported in recent weeks to be on Trump's shortlist.
His nomination underscores the fast-rising conservative's potential to shape major decisions on divisive issues such as abortion, gun-control, the death penalty, religious and LGBT rights, access to healthcare and anti-discrimination protections.
"I am proud to announce the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Justice of the Supreme Court," Trump said in a televised prime-time event from the East Room of the White House.
"Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," he said adding, "It is an extraordinary resume — as good as it gets."
Born and raised in Colorado, Gorsuch attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School and after graduating with honours, he received his doctorate from the Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar.
Gorsuch is seen as an "originalist" who believes in the American Constitution's original intent and meaning.
"Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible Justice as soon as the Senate confirms him," Trump said.
Making his first nomination to the Supreme Court, Trump also said that he was fulfilling his promise to select someone who loves the Constitution and respects laws and will interpret them as written.
In 2006, then President George W Bush nominated Gorsuch for the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and he was confirmed by voice vote without objection.
"I am honoured and humbled to receive this nomination. I look forward to meeting with Senators over the coming weeks as we begin this process," Gorsuch said.
Outlining his legal ideas, Gorsuch said: "It is the rule of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people's representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge."
He also praised Justice Scalia as "a lion of the law."
Trump said he hoped both Democrats and Republicans can come together for once for the good of the country. But some Democrats have vowed to mount a vigorous challenge to nearly any nominee to what they view as the court's "stolen seat."
"This may be the most transparent judicial selection process in history," Trump said, adding "the qualifications of Judge Gorsuch are beyond dispute."