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Trump's Supreme Court nominee faces battle

WASHINGTON: Like the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia, Mr Neil Gorsuch is considered an "originalist", guided in his legal thinking by the Constitution's original intent and meaning.

Mr Gorsuch was picked by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to replace Mr Scalia in the country's top court.

With an eye to a bitter Congressional fight ahead of him, Mr Gorsuch presented himself as someone who is fair-minded and self-deprecating.

"A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands," he joked.

Much of the Democrats' opposition to Mr Gorsuch is likely to stem from the Republicans' behaviour after Mr Scalia's death. For the better part of a year, Congressional Republicans refused to give then-president Barack Obama's pick a confirmation hearing.

The Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate but need 60 to confirm a nominee. That means Mr Gorsuch must be someone capable of winning some Democratic votes - a task made tougher by the row over Mr Trump's ban on travellers from several Muslim countries.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said it was up to Mr Gorsuch to "prove himself to be within the legal mainstream" and "vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the Executive branch".

But he added: "Given his record, I have very serious doubts about Judge Gorsuch's ability to meet this standard."

House of Representatives Democrat minority leader Nancy Pelosi called Mr Gorsuch "hostile to women's rights" and said the consequences of confirming him "could not be more serious".

Predictably, Republicans welcomed Mr Trump's nomination. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said of Mr Gorsuch: "He has an impressive background and a long record of faithfully applying the law and the Constitution.

"When the Senate previously confirmed him to the appellate court, the bipartisan support in the Senate was so overwhelming, a roll call vote was not even required." - AFP

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