President Donald Trump named federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat previously occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
U.S. senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC) praised the president's pick.
"Judge Gorsuch is a home run pick by President Trump!" Graham posted on Twitter shortly after the nomination was announced.
Gorsuch, age 49, was nominated to 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush, and he has served on the court for more than a decade. He previously clerked for Supreme Court justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.
"With over a decade of experience on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch has the reputation of a consistent conservative and someone who will uphold the Constitution and defend our country's founding principles," Scott said in a statement.
Scott added that Gorsuch's "record shows that he fully supports religious liberty and protects freedom of speech."
The senator was most likely referring to Gorsuch's ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v Sebelius, in which the judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act's (a.k.a, Obamacare) contraception mandate violated the company's religious beliefs.
"I believe that Judge Gorsuch will serve as a great successor to the late Justice Scalia, and I look forward to supporting his nomination in the coming months."
The National Law Journal's Tony Mauro writes that, "In choosing Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump opted for a candidate with traditional credentials shared by most modern-day justices."
Despite this resume, Gorsuch will likely face fierce opposition from U.S. Senate Democrats.
Politico reports that Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), in an interview given a day before Trump's pick was even announced, said that, "We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”