How does Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated to a federal judgeship by Republican President George W. Bush and now nominated to the country's highest court by Republican President Donald Trump, compare? Will he be as conservative, or less so?
As the above chart shows, Gorsuch is expected to occupy approximately the same ideological space as Scalia if confirmed. He would even be slightly to Scalia's right, according to legal scholars.
Where Gorsuch stands on major issues
Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues
Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee. President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill the seat that had left vacant with the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.
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Gorsuch has never directly ruled on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S., but he was pressed on the landmark ruling during his Senate confirmation hearing.
When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch what he would have done if President Trump asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade, the judge responded, "I would have walked out the door. It's not what judges do. I don't do it at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue and they shouldn't do it at this end either, respectfully."
Some refer to passages from a book Gorsuch wrote on assisted suicide. In the book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch wrote, "The idea that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong."
(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Gorsuch has never directly ruled on the Second Amendment. However, during his confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) questioned Gorsuch on District of Columbia v. Heller -- a landmark ruling that overturned a ban on handguns and certain requirements when storing guns in Washington D.C.
Gorsuch offered limited responses to Feinstein's questioning, but did conclude that Heller was the "law of the land."
(REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo)
Gorsuch is widely regarded as a strong proponent of religious liberty.
In a landmark ruling, Gorsuch sided with an employer in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case in 2013, making it legal for a non-profit organization to deny employees access to contraceptives if it goes against their religious beliefs. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, where it was also ruled in the favor of Hobby Lobby.
In another case, Gorsuch ruled in favor of a Wyoming inmate. The ruling allowed the inmate to use a prison yard sweat lodge, that he had previously been denied access to, for Native American religious worship.
Gorsuch has not hinted to how he feels about President Trump's proposed travel ban, and many experts are split on how the SCOTUS nominee would vote on the executive order that bans immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries. The ban is currently suspended following rulings by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
Gorsuch has sided with immigrants in past cases, and as Cornell University constitutional law professor Michael Dorf noted to the Denver Post -- "Gorsuch’s sympathy for people in religious cases, a general skepticism of executive power and a history of ruling for immigrants give some reason to think he could be sympathetic to plaintiffs challenging a ban on people from certain countries."
In the 2015 case Energy and Environment Legal Institute vs. Epel, Gorsuch sided with a Colorado law that requires 20 percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from renewable sources. The case was filed by an out-of-state coal company, claiming the law was a threat to interstate commerce.
When pressed about gay rights and strict interpretations of the law by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.) during his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch responded that "no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days."
"We’re trying to interpret the law faithfully, taking principles that are enduring and a Constitution that was meant to last ages and apply it and interpret it to today’s problems."
Gorsuch also told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "A good judge starts with precedent and doesn’t reinvent the wheel. So to the extent, there are decisions on these topics — and there are — a good judge respects precedent."
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
While Gorsuch does hail from Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is still unclear where he stands on the issue.
In 2015, Gorsuch ruled against a dispensary, forcing the company to pay taxes on items they wrote off as business expenses in an effort to avoid incriminating themselves due to a federal law banning marijuana.
(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams notes that this outcome is to be expected. Gorsuch grounds his judicial opinion-making in the same process of looking to the original meaning of the Constitution and of laws — originalism — the philosophy that Scalia was famous for.
In fact, a group of legal scholars created a "Scalia-ness" index, a measurement system for how similar judges are to Scalia, and Gorsuch was the judge ranked second-closest to Scalia. The closest to Scalia is Justice Thomas Rex Lee, the associate chief justice on the Utah Supreme Court.
Professor Jeremy Kidd, one of the study's authors, said that "it looks like Gorsuch is a fairly strong originalist, possibly even stronger than Scalia."
The difference between Gorsuch and the late justice may be in how much power Gorsuch grants to administrative agencies, like the EPA, to interpret laws originally written by Congress.
The chart's estimate for Judge Gorsuch was developed by scholars Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin and Kevin Quinn, and is based on the past voting records of Supreme Court justices and the ideology of Gorsuch's home state senator.