Donald Trump has perhaps surprised many with his nominee for the U.S. Supreme court. After a deeply disturbing start to his presidency, his choice Neil Gorsuch is a surprising nomination because even though he has a solid conservative background that has earned him comparisons with the man he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia

He has previously been praised by liberals and others in the Colorado legal community, previously was appointed to the federal branch after working for George W. Bush in the justice department.

A worthy choice?

Gorsuch is a Colorado native, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in three years, eventually went on to Harvard where he earned a law degree.

He worked under Supreme Court justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy as a clerk before taking a philosophy degree at Oxford University and working at a prominent Washington D.C. law firm. His mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was the first woman to head the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) during Ronald Reagan’s administration.

Recently he sided with two religious groups who successfully challenged Obama’s administration’s requirements that employers provide contraception within health insurance. Gorsuch has previously argued that courts give too much deference to government agencies’ interpretations of statutes, this originally stemmed from a Supreme Court ruling in a 1984 case. He has penned a book expressing is views against assisted suicides, and he also went against the Obama administration many times.

David Lane, Denver’s plaintiff attorney said that he is a very smart man and despite his conservative leanings, he is absolutely the right choice for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has won praise from liberals and conservatives alike for his fair-mindedness and defence of the underdog, and he has also authored a series of sharply written, conservative opinions.

Open-minded and fair

Lane praised Gorsuch as being open-minded and fair. A case against Denver Police Department of police brutality and wrongful arrest, was appealed by city lawyers, it was placed in front of Gorsuch and he tore into the lawyers. Stating that they should go into mediation rather than drag it out for years to avoid paying the just rewards, eventually it led to a pay-out of $1.6 million.

He is also a keen advocate to make the judicial system more open and accessible by simplifying it and he stated in article that the courts in America are too expensive and rank amongst the lowest for access for civil cases in the developed world. Gorsuch is also the youngest justice to join America’s highest court since William Rehnquist in 1971, at 49 years of age.

The surprise nomination comes after a controversial start to Trump’s first term as president, but this nomination is surprising but could also work against him. After Trump introduced Gorsuch from the East Room of the White House, Gorsuch summed up his minimalistic judicial philosophy by saying “A judge who reaches every outcome he wishes is likely a very bad judge”.