By the numbers:
Days since Merrick Garland was nominated by former President Obama: 321
Years Gorsuch has served on the 10th Court of Appeals: 11
Gorsuch’s Judicial Common Score: +0.50
The 101st Justice of the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch
One year ago, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia suddenly died and left a vacancy in the highest court of the United States. One month later, former President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat. From March 16 to Nov. 8, Republicans in Congress made an unprecedented wager: refusing to consider Garland for the empty seat. They instead chose to wait until the November election in order to give the decision of the ninth seat to whomever the people choose as their new president.
The wager was the culmination of a defiant attitude toward the Obama administration that granted the Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010 and a Senate majority in 2014. The cost for the Republicans were two presidential races, but in the end, the strategy has seemed to pay off with a Republican president, House, Senate and a majority of state legislatures and governorships.
Now in 2017, President Donald Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch, a judge from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill the empty seat. With two of the justices from the liberal side of the court reaching the age of retirement, Gorsuch may not be the last appointee to the court that Trump nominates.
Neil Gorsuch is a Harvard alum from the class of 1991, graduating alongside Obama. He lies to the right of Scalia in the Judicial Common Score, but to the left of Justice Clarence Thomas. While it seems unlikely that Gorsuch won’t be sitting on the court in the coming months, the Democrats have pledged to make the approval process a battle.