Trump announces Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court nominee

In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, photograph, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch makes a point while delivering prepared remarks before a group of attorneys at a luncheon in a legal firm in lower downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(ABC / WTNH) — President Trump has announced his nominee for U.S. Supreme Court justice, who replaces the vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia.

The court has had only eight justices since Scalia’s unexpected death last February. President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the bench in May, but Senate Republicans denied him a vote, arguing that because the vacancy occurred during an election year, the next president should be the one to pick Scalia’s replacement.

The president said he chose a “person who is unbelievably highly respected and I think you will be very impressed with this person,” during a meeting with small business owners on Monday. Trump has pledged to appoint a strict conservative, someone with the same judicial philosophy as Scalia.

Trump’s nominee was Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch, 49, is currently a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was nominated by President George Bush in 2006 and confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote.

Gorsuch clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He attended Harvard Law and has a Ph.D. from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. In legal circles, he’s considered a gifted writer. Like Scalia, he’s both a textualist and an originalist.

He is the author of “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” which looks at the legal and ethical issues surrounding assisted suicides. In the book, he concludes that any form of euthanasia should not be legalized.

If nominated and confirmed, Gorsuch would be the first Supreme Court justice to serve alongside his former boss — a justice for whom he/she clerked.

He would also be the youngest Supreme Court nominee in about 25 years.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump is “100 percent sure he’s the pick.” Spicer also said that the nominee is part of the list that the president already put out. Spicer declined to elaborate further during the daily press briefing.