SUPCO nominee could have major influence on North Carolina issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court was on Capitol Hill Wednesday ahead of what could be a contentious confirmation battle.

Eyewitness News anchor John Paul found Neil Gorsuch, a solid conservative from Colorado, could have a large influence on several major issues for North Carolina.

The Senate refused to hold hearings on former President Barack Obama's choice after Antonin Scalia died last February leading to split decisions with eight justices.

Issues of bathroom choice and voters rights will likely be going before the Supreme Court soon and that means Gorsuch could have a major impact on North Carolina's future.

“The one that's most likely to come before the court first is redistricting,” University of North Carolina-Charlotte associate professor of political science John Szmer said.

The professor followed the courts and the fight over districts leading up to the election.

Federal judges ordered North Carolina to redraw congressional districts calling them unconstitutional, even ordering a special election this year.

Szmer thinks the fight could be over with Gorsuch on the court.

“Gorsuch is much more likely to say we keep the map as it is, which would give significant power to Republicans in General Assembly,” Szmer said.

There is also the contentious issue of House Bill 2 and Szmer said in that case, the court would still be somewhat split.

“I think Gorsuch ads a solid fourth vote that would likely vote to uphold HB2,” Szmer said.

The swing vote in that case would be Justice Anthony Kennedy, and coincidentally, Gorsuch once worked for Kennedy as his law clerk.

Sen. Thom Tillis thinks Gorsuch is a shoo-in.

“Neil Gorsuch is a mainstream judge who follows the rule of law,” Tillis said. “He will be an outstanding justice on the Supreme Court.”

Szmer said that because Gorsuch is similar to Scalia, there won’t be much of a change in the high court.

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