U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is “pleased” with President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Supreme Court justice. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is open-minded but has concerns about the court moving further to the right.

Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, after President Donald Trump announced Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. (AP Photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

Trump during prime time Tuesday night presented Neil Gorsuch, 49, as his nominee to succeed the late Justice Antoni Scalia’s seat on the nation’s high court.

Gorsuch is known for his clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement, The Associated Press reports.

Gorsuch is a Colorado native who earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in three years, then earned a law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White, a fellow Coloradan, and Anthony Kennedy before earning a philosophy degree at Oxford University and working for a prominent Washington, D.C., law firm.

He served for two years in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department before Bush appointed him to a seat on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006.

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He is the son of Anne Gorsuch, who served as EPA administrator during the Reagan administration.

Here are the Pennsylvania senators’ statements on Trump’s choice:


“I was pleased to see President Trump nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Crucially, Judge Gorsuch understands the proper role of a judge. He understands that his job is to apply the law and U.S. Constitution as written, not to pick winners and losers based on personal or partisan policy preferences. Judge Gorsuch’s record shows that he will treat everyone equally– regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, political views, influence, or wealth. And I believe that like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch will be a principled justice, will be dedicated to the principles of originalism, and will neutrally apply the law, even when doing so leads to a policy outcome he personally opposes.

<p style="padding-left: Vevobahis 30px;”>”Judge Gorsuch’s record indicates that he has the character, intellect, and experience to make an excellent addition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Judge Gorsuch has sterling credentials. He earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, his law degree from Harvard, and a PhD in Law from Oxford University. In 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit without a single Democrat or Republican objecting.

“I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and Senators should work across the aisle to fill the federal bench with highly qualified jurists.

“I have worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Casey and the Obama White House to fill 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. And, although I knew I would disagree with many of her decisions, I supported President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I plan to apply the same standard of fairness to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. And I hope my fellow Senators will do the same. I hope they will review Judge Gorsuch’s record with an open mind. And I hope they will remember that the test is not whether we agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch has rendered, but whether Judge Gorsuch understands the proper role of a judge and has the character, intellect, and experience to merit confirmation.

“I look forward to the Judiciary Committee’s hearing and meeting Judge Gorsuch in person.”


“The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Roberts, has moved far outside the mainstream and has too often favored big corporations at the expense of our workers and middle class families. I am concerned that far right groups presented an edict to Donald Trump when he was a candidate, demanding that he select a nominee from their approved list. These same organizations have pushed for legal rulings that rig the system in favor of big corporations and against workers, stacking the deck against everyday Pennsylvanians.

The Supreme Court plays a role of unique importance in our democracy and therefore nominees require substantial scrutiny. I will thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch’s record, particularly his appellate decisions and his answers to questions during the hearing and those submitted in writing afterward.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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