What You Need to Know About Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court Pick


On January 31, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, for the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would take up the seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year.

Here’s what you might want to know about Judge Gorsuch:

  • Judicial Service: He currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was nominated for that position by George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to fill a seat vacated by David M. Ebel. Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on July 20, 2006, and received commission on August 8, 2006.
  • Education: Judge Gorsuch received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1988, his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1991, and his D.Phil from Oxford University in 2004.

Judge Gorsuch has held the following professional positions:

  • Law clerk, Hon. David B. Sentelle, U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1991-1992
  • Law clerk, Hon. Byron R. White and Anthony M. Kennedy, Supreme Court of the United States, 1993-1994
  • Private practice, 1995-2005
  • Principal deputy to the associate attorney general and acting associate attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, 2005-2006

Source: Federal Judicial Center

Notable Opinions by Judge Gorsuch

Following are some of the notable opinions Judge Gorsuch authored or joined during his tenure as a federal appellate judge:

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius (Judge Gorsuch joined the majority holding that Hobby Lobby and Mardel were entitled to bring their claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] and that their rights were likely substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act [ACA]; Judge Gorsuch wrote separately to articulate the moral dilemma the family-owned Hobby Lobby faced by the ACA’s requirements)

United States v. Games-Perez (Judge Gorsuch concurred the majority holding that a defendant’s lack of knowledge that he was a felon did not preclude his violation of a criminal statute prohibiting felons from possessing firearms; Judge Gorsuch wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment of the majority due to the principle of stare decisis but arguing that the precedent was incorrect)

Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (Judge Gorsuch authored the majority opinion criticizing yet holding that agencies exercising delegated legislative power can effectively overrule judicial precedents; however, those decisions do not apply retroactively to conduct completed before they take legal effect)

Hammond v. Stamps.com (Judge Gorsuch authored the majority opinion using the plain language of a statute to find the court had federal jurisdiction over the case)

NLRB v. Community Health Services (Judge Gorsuch dissented from the majority opinion which deferred to the NLRB’s calculation of backpay damages; in his dissent, Judge Gorsuch argued that the backpay award was excessive and beyond the Board’s remedial powers)

Tenth Circuit Opinions Authored by Judge Gorsuch

In chronological order:

Other Resources

Judge Gorsuch’s 10th Circuit Confirmation Hearing Transcript
Ballotpedia – Neil Gorsuch