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What Conservatives Need to Know About the Top Contenders to fill Scalia’s Former Seat

Important facts that conservatives should keep in mind when considering Trump’s Supreme Court pick to replace the seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Judge Neil Gorsuch:

  • Has world class academic and legal credentials. He received his undergrad from Columbia, his law degree from Harvard, and his doctorate from Oxford.
  • Clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals, for the District of Columbia Circuit and on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • If nominated and confirmed, Gorsuch would be the first former law clerk to serve on the bench alongside his or her old boss.
  • Was on the conservative side of the Hobby Lobby decision when it came before the 10th Circuit.
  • Legal experts say he’s a natural successor to Scalia in judicial interpretation and witty thought.
  • Gorsuch wrote a book entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.
  • A quote from that book reads, “To act intentionally against life is to suggest that its value rests only on its transient instrumental usefulness for other ends.”
  • It seems he takes very seriously the fact that SCOTUS justices swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Judge William Pryor:

  • Trump mentioned Pryor by name during a primary debate shortly after Scalia’s death.
  • The popular consensus is that Pryor is not a frontrunner because many liberals consider him to be too fiery, and many conservatives don’t consider him sufficiently conservative.
  • Pryor has spoken multiple times about the role that faith plays in his life. He was raised Roman Catholic and according to his mother was constantly in the company of nuns and Catholic clergy.
  • Pryor said: “My Catholic faith is the foundation of my worldview, and my judicial duty is governed, from beginning to end, by the law. Faith properly informs the religious lawyer or judge, and morality is not in tension with fidelity to the law.”
  • Received his undergrad from Northeast Louisiana University, his law degree from Tulane University Law School.
  • Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • He served for two years as deputy attorney general of Alabama before becoming attorney general in 1997 at only 34 years old.
  • He was hired by Sen. Jeff Sessions, then Alabama attorney general, and the two have a close relationship.
  • Angered conservatives as attorney general in 2003 when he prosecuted former Alabama Chief Judge Roy Moore for refusing to follow a federal injunction requiring the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building.
  • Pryor has called Roe v. Wade the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
  • Said of Roe v. Wade, “I believe that not only is the case unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it had led to a morally wrong result. It has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children.”
  • In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Pryor to serve on the United States Sentencing Commission and he currently serves as Acting Chair.

Judge Thomas Hardiman:

  • Not a very well-known figure until recent days, but is considered to be a top contender.
  • Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • His father ran a taxicab company, and Hardiman reportedly financed his law degree by driving a taxi. He was the first of his family to go to college.
  • Completed his undergrad at the University of Notre Dame, obtained his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
  • When atheists sued Allegheny County to force it to take down a plaque listing the Ten Commandments, Hardiman defended the plaque. He later listed it as his second most important case.
  • He has defended the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and has also stood up for the right of students to express their religious beliefs in public schools.


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