Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET
President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the 11-month-old vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday night, fulfilling his campaign promise to appoint a staunch conservative justice to replace Antonin Scalia.
In a primetime ceremony at the White House, Trump praised Gorsuch as among the finest jurists in the country and a worthy successor to the conservative icon he would replace.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said. “When he was nominated to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, he was confirmed by the Senate unanimously.”
Gorsuch, a 49-year-old federal appellate judge based in Colorado, currently sits on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Born in Denver, Colorado, he would be one of the few justices hailing from west of the Mississippi, adding some geographic diversity to a court where most of the justices hail from the Northeast. Gorsuch spent his teenage years living in Washington, D.C., when President Ronald Reagan appointed his mother, Anne Gorsuch Buford, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
His legal career reflects a rapid ascent to the upper echelons of the American judicial system. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1991, Gorsuch clerked first for Judge David Sentelle, a longtime member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ conservative wing, followed by Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. He then spent 10 years in private practice at a high-profile Washington law firm, followed by a year serving as a principal assistant to the deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice. President George W. Bush appointed Gorsuch to the Tenth Circuit in 2006.