Members of the media gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, after President Donald Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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President Donald Trump Tuesday nominated Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime job on the U.S. Supreme Court, picking the 49-year-old federal appeals court judge to restore the court's conservative majority and help shape rulings on divisive issues such as abortion, gun control, the death penalty and religious rights.The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, indicated his party would mount a procedural hurdle requiring 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate rather than a simple majority to approve Gorsuch, and expressed "very serious doubts" about the nominee.Gorsuch became the youngest U.S. Supreme Court nominee since Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991 selected conservative Clarence Thomas, who was 43 at the time.The selection of Gorsuch, who was on a list of about 20 judges suggested by conservative legal activists, unified Republicans in a way not seen since Trump's Nov. 8 election victory, with even critics within the party such as South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham singing the nominee's praises.Trump made his choice between two U.S. appeals court judges, Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a source involved in the selection process.Trump's selection was one of the most consequential appointments of his young presidency as he moved to restore a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that had been in place for decades until Scalia died at age 79 on Feb. 13, 2016 .Trump may get to make additional appointments.
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