Speaking from the East Room of the White House Tuesday, President Donald Trump officially nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill late-Justice Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court.
"When Justice [Antonin] Scalia passed away suddenly last February, I made a promise to the American people if I were elected President, I would find the very best judge in the country for the Supreme Court. I promised to select someone who respects our laws and is representative of our Constitution and who loves our Constitution. And someone who will interpret it as written," Trump announced with Scalia's widow, Maureen, sitting in the audience. "I am a man of my word, I will do as I say. Something that the American people have been asking of Washington for a very very long time."
"Today I am keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court," Trump said, revealing that Scalia's image was in his mind during the decision-making process. "I took the task of this nomination very seriously. I selected an individual whose qualities define really, and I mean closely define, what we are looking for."
Gorsuch was chosen from a list of 21 judges released by the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election. According to polling, the Supreme Court was an important and defining factor in how Americans cast their vote on Election Day.
Born and raised in Colorado, Gorsuch graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White. During his undergraduate work at Columbia University, where he graduated with honors, Gorsuch started a newspaper called "The Fed" in opposition to the liberal, politically-correct environment on campus. Gorsuch currently sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and was unanimously confirmed to the position by the Senate in 2006 after being nominated by George W. Bush. He was close friends with Scalia and they fished on the Colorado River together. He is 49-years-old.
"Mr. President, I am honored and I am humbled. Thank you very much," Gorsuch said. "You've entrusted me with a most solemn assignment. Standing here in a house of history and acutely aware of my own imperfections, I pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of a Constitution of laws for this great country."
Gorsuch stressed he will interpret the law as written, not make it from the bench, and believes in the Constitution as it was written.
"Justice Scalia was a lion of the law. Agree or disagree with him, all of his colleagues cherished his wisdom and his humor and like them, I miss him," Gorsuch said, getting emotional. "I am so thankful tonight for my family, my friends and my faith. These are the things that keep me grounded at life's peaks and that sustain me in its valleys."
Conservatives are already praising the move and are prepared to defend him and his record as his confirmation hearing gets underway.
"The qualifications of Judge Gorsuch are beyond dispute. He is a man of our country and a man who our country really needs," Trump said. "May God bless you and may God bless this glorious nation."