Trump praises Gorsuch and highlights judicial picks in his State of the Union speech

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President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump acknowledged Justice Neil M. Gorsuch as he touted his judicial picks in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

“Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country,” Trump said. (The New York Times has a transcript.)

According to the National Law Journal, Gorsuch “was stone-faced” when Trump mentioned him. 9News.com reports that, rather than join many standing ovations, “Gorsuch stayed glued to his chair.”

Gorsuch was one of four justices present for the speech. The others were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Anthony M. Kennedy missed the speech because of long-standing travel plans. Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas also stayed away, keeping with their long-time habit.

On other legal topics, Trump said his administration is “totally defending our Second Amendment,” taking “historic actions to protect religious liberty” and eliminating regulations.

A Slate op-ed highlighted Trump’s call to give the administration more power to fire workers. “Tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers—and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” Trump said.

On immigration, Trump criticized “open borders and “deadly loopholes that have allowed drugs and gangs to come into the country. He said he has proposed legislation that will “fix our immigration laws” and talked about his plan to allow immigrants who came to the country illegally as children to remain in the country. In exchange, he called for a secure border, and an end to the “visa lottery” and “chain migration.”

He also said he has signed an order calling for a re-examination of military detention policy and keeping open the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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