President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, to take the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The 49-year-old Columbia, Harvard and Oxford graduate sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy and served in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department. He comes from a political family. His mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford*, was appointed head of the EPA by President Reagan in 1980.
Before resigning after less than two years on the job, the conservative Republican Burford cut the EPA’s budget by 22 percent. A New York Times editorial in 1983 claimed she had left the EPA “reeking of cynicism, mismanagement and decay.” Gorsuch said the news media was unfair to her. After a series of congressional investigations (she refused to comply with subpoenas regarding the $1.6 billion Superfund program to clean up toxic-waste sites), she was cited for contempt of Congress. Her 1986 book Are You Tough Enough? sought to tell her side of the story about what she called her “expensive mid-life education.” Anne Burford died in 2004.
*She was known by her married name Gorsuch until she divorced Gorsuch (Neil’s father in 1982). She later married Colorado rancher Bob Burford.