US President Donald Trump has chosen Neil Gorsuch, the federal appellate judge, as his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the balance of the court back in favor of the conservatives.
Trump’s 49-year-old pick, introduced on Tuesday night, would fill the long-vacant ninth position of Antonin Scalia, who died last February.
"I took the task of this nomination very seriously, I have selected an individual whose qualities define, really and I mean closely define, what we’re looking for. Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, and tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," Trump said at the White House. "He will make an incredible justice as soon as the Senate confirms him."
Being among the youngest Supreme Court nominees, Gorsuch has served as an appeals judge for the 10th Circuit in the US state of Colorado since 2006.
For his part, the nominee said that if he is confirmed he "will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitution and laws of this great country.”
Known to favor a strict reading of the US Constitution, the Colorado native holds degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School.
Under current Senate rules, which require 60 votes for a supreme court confirmation, Gorsuch would need to win the support of multiple Democrats, who count 48 Senate caucus members to the Republicans’ 52.
The supreme court is currently in recess and is scheduled to reconvene for conference on 17 February.