Donald Trump’s pick of Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court will have a lasting effect on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, he could make his presence felt on the Court on a series of hot-button issues, including transgender rights, voter ID laws and gun control.
Gorsuch could be placed in the middle of having to rule on controversial actions taken by President Trump. Trump’s controversial executive order limiting travel by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has already launched a wave of litigation that is expected to reach the Supreme Court.
While operating shorthanded since the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, they appear to be avoiding polarizing issues and declining to review certain disputes. It seems doubtful Gorsuch will make it onto the court before arguments for this term wrap up in early April. But he could catch a rebound effect, as the justices begin to wade into issues in the next session that they’ve snubbed over the past year.
Gorsuch is not expected to have much impact on the court’s stance towards gay marriage, since Scalia was in the minority on that ruling. While many have accepted the gay community, the fight has spilled over into the rights of religious Americans to refuse services to gay couples. While these practices violate anti-discrimination laws, many bakers, florists and others claim these laws intrude on religious beliefs.
In October, the court agreed to hear a case involving a transgender boy’s right to use the boys bathroom at a Virginia public school. The case is involving the guidance the Obama Education Department issued calling for such accommodations under federal law. The Trump administration could reverse that move, causing the Court to not hear that case.
Trump’s immigration ban unleashed countless protests at U.S. airports and continues to create a huge flurry of legal challenges. It remains to be unseen how Neil Gorsuch might rule. Gorsuch has strong concerns about religious liberty, which may persuade him to take a second look at the ban.
Gorsuch will also face cases surrounding voter ID laws if confirmed to the Supreme Court. Republican controlled states have passed numerous measures aimed at preventing voter fraud, but Democrats have argued are attempts at making it harder for minorities. After the cases have been heard by the lower courts, Chief Justice is open to hearing them one final time.
While Congress hardly keeps the president in check, the Courts will do a much better job because most judges are strong followers of the law and will hold President Trump to the law of the land.