Jim Renacci represents Ohio's 16th congressional district in Congress.Renacci House Head Shots
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Arguably the most consequential outcome from the 2016 presidential election was the fate of the U.S. Supreme Court. After the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in calling for the American people to decide who should fill the vacancy. The direction of the highest court in the land and a generation of jurisprudence were far too important to leave to a lame-duck president.
On Nov. 8, voters had a clear choice: Hillary Clinton and, potentially, President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, or Donald Trump and his pledge to nominate a Scalia-esque justice.
Ohio voters overwhelmingly chose the latter. Donald Trump won Ohio by more than eight points and nearly half a million votes.
Following President Trump's historic election, I was confident he would select someone worthy of Justice Scalia's legacy. While no one will be able to replace Scalia's larger-than-life persona, his judicial ethos of textualism is what must endure. This distinct judicial philosophy of interpreting the letter of the law rather than the intent of the lawmaker is what set Justice Scalia apart.
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While members of the other two branches have the freedom to act in a partisan manner, it is imperative that justices put aside their own political and personal beliefs and commit to interpreting the text of the law through the lens of the Constitution, not their own political prism.
It is critical that we nominate and confirm such justices. Acting as nonpartisan arbiters of the law undergirds the ability of the judiciary to check and balance the political branches of government when necessary.
I am pleased to see that President Trump has chosen to nominate Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice. The president's choice fulfills his promise to nominate a justice in the mold of Justice Scalia, who will stay true to the tenets of textualism and adhere to the intentions of our founders.
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Neil Gorsuch is truly the perfect successor to Justice Scalia. He has a brilliant legal mind and a sterling judicial record. With a writing style that is exceptionally clear and easy to understand, he has exercised proper judicial restraint, stating the role of judges is to "apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be - not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best."
It is no wonder, then, that his nomination has drawn support from both liberal and conservative circles. While some liberal pundits and politicians will reflexively oppose Judge Gorsuch's nomination because of his association with President Trump -- despite the fact that in 2006 the Senate unanimously confirmed him to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by voice vote -- others have expressed their strong support.
For example, Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general under President Obama, wrote in The New York Times that Judge Gorsuch will bring "a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation's highest court." Furthermore, he stated that he had "no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help restore confidence in the rule of law. His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence - a record that should give the American people confidence."
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I believe Judge Gorsuch's impeccable legal credentials and his thoughtful body of work as a judge adhering to both an originalist and textualist approach make him the perfect choice for the American people and the Ohio voters who trusted President Trump to make this critical decision. Based on the unanimous bipartisan backing of his previous nomination, I sincerely hope both Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman will work to quickly send Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Jim Renacci of Wadsworth represents Ohio's 16th congressional district in Congress.
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