Frank Williams optimistic for Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation

Former Chief Justice Frank Williams in January 2009. (photo: AP/Stew Milne)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As conservative justice Neil Gorsuch got the nod Tuesday night from President Donald Trump for the nomination to the open seat of the U.S. Supreme Court, Frank Williams, the former chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, noted it could change the makeup of the judicial branch.

“I think his selection of Judge Gorsuch of the Tenth Federal circuit is good,” Williams said Wednesday morning. “I think the tilt will have to be on the conservative side; let’s be honest with ourselves,” he added.

He stressed: it’s a nomination, not the last word — and is “subject, of course, to confirmation by the United States Senate. It’s going to be a very interesting time.”

Gorsuch would replace conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away almost a year ago. Both men are considered conservative intellectuals; Gorsuch has written against euthanasia and assisted suicide — and has supported the side of religious freedom in previous cases.

Republicans are praising the President’s choice as impressive and respected, while Democrats are concerned about Gorsuch’s record on women’s healthcare and rights, saying he could be outside the mainstream.

Justice Williams said he expects Gorsuch to be confirmed nevertheless.

“I think, all things being equal, based on what I know of this man’s record, his work in the Tenth Judicial Circuit, it’s more likely now that he will get through, confirmed.”