Gorsuch Dishes On Selection Process, Past Affiliations

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, has submitted responses to a lengthy questionnaire at the behest of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The questionnaire is an exhaustive account of the judge’s public statements, past political affiliations, and rulings he considers most important. He also submitted a financial disclosure to the committee.

Gorsuch reported that, prior to his appointment to the federal bench in 2006, he belonged to the Republican National Lawyers Association and Lawyers for Bush-Cheney. He volunteered on the campaigns of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He also has frequently participated in moot courts or scholarly symposia organized by the Federalist Society, a venue of legal debate popular with conservatives and libertarians.

He also shared previously unknown details about the Trump administration’s judicial selection process. Gorsuch was first contacted about the vacancy on Dec. 2, 2016 by Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society and an advisor to the president on judicial nominations. He interviewed with Vice President Mike Pence, White House counsel Don McGahn, chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and counsel to the vice president Mark Paoletta on Jan. 5, prior to interview with Trump on Jan. 14.

McGahn informed Gorsuch he would be the nominee on Jan. 27, followed by a call from the president himself on Jan. 30.

His most recent legally-mandated financial disclosure was filed in 2015. The document shows Gorsuch claimed assets totaling at least $3.3 million, among them a brokerage and IRA account. In addition to his income as a federal judge, he earns $26,000 teaching at the University of Colorado Law School, where he has taught antitrust law, law and bioethics, federal courts, advanced appellate advocacy, and legal ethics and professionalism.

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