Mitch McConnell’s Finest Hour
The high drama of Thursday’s Senate vote to end filibusters of Supreme Court nominees was preceded by the low comedy of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s floor speech, which ended with this fantastic reverie: “Today we moved irrevocably from the Founders’ principles of bipartisanship and moderation.” The Founders’ bipartisanship? Someone send the Senator a ticket to “Hamilton.” The word “filibuster” exists nowhere in the Constitution. Since it first appeared in the Senate in 1837, it has been bent and revised numerous times until it fell into the hands of its undertaker—Senator Harry Reid. Mr. Reid decided as Majority Leader in 2013 to kill filibusters for government appointees and appeals-court nominees. After that decision, the only relevant question was whether Mitch McConnell or Mr. Schumer would get the first chance to nuke the filibuster for the High Court. That choice was made in 2016 by the voters. The Republicans won. Judge Neil Gorsuch is now headed to the Supreme Court on a majority vote Friday in the Senate. …
Mr. McConnell deserves great credit both for holding his ground then and for holding his caucus together on breaking the filibuster Thursday in the face of a cynical Democratic narrative about their “stolen” Supreme Court seat. Mr. Schumer is right on one score—that the politicizing of Supreme Court nominees goes back a long way. We recall the exact moment: the 1987 nomination of Robert Bork. Like Judge Gorsuch, Bork’s legal qualifications were unimpeachable. So the Democratic left created the then-novel strategy of taking down Bork on politics alone. This week’s episode upholds the principle that the Senate should be able to exercise its “advice and consent” role with a majority vote—in elections and the Senate.
Senate set to confirm Neil Gorsuch as next Supreme Court justice
Neil McGill Gorsuch of Colorado is poised Friday to win confirmation as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, completing a 419-day odyssey that stretched from the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the denial of President Obama's nominee to a Senate rules change known as the "nuclear option." Gorsuch, 49, a conservative judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, is expected to win Senate confirmation largely along party lines after a day in which Democrats mounted a successful partisan filibuster of his nomination and Republicans eliminated the 60-vote threshold that threatened to block final action. The final vote, expected to be 55-45, won't put Gorsuch on the high court immediately. He still must be sworn in at the court and the White House, most likely early next week. He then would attend his first private conference with the other eight justices on Thursday and sit for the next round of oral arguments that begins April 17, including an important case on the separation of church and state. …
Republicans and their conservative allies were in celebration mode as the clock ticked down to the final vote Friday. To them, Gorsuch epitomizes the type of judge who decides cases based on the Constitution, the law and past precedents, rather than personal opinion or ideology. “He is a jurist of the highest character and integrity," said Leonard Leo, who took a leave of absence from the conservative Federalist Society to help with the confirmation process. "He believes deeply in neutral, impartial decision-making, and he is deeply committed to a Constitution whose limits on judicial and government power inextricably intertwine with the preservation of human freedom.”
Bob Dole and Trent Lott: The Senate has changed. It’s time to use the nuclear option.
For weeks now we have heard the erroneous claim that Supreme Court nominees require 60 votes for Senate confirmation, rather than a simple majority. In reality, the Constitution and long-standing precedent require nothing of the kind. Now it is time to end the farce and call the roll. …
Whatever the label, if Democrats insist on denying Judge Neil Gorsuch the same up-or-down vote that Republicans gave to Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, it is time Senate Republicans dismissed the judicial filibuster for what it is today — a power play dressed up as inviolable tradition. …
The public believes Gorsuch deserves an up-or-down vote. Some senators have taken to saying that, sure, we’ll give him an up-or-down vote — just as soon as he gets the 60-vote supermajority to end a filibuster. In other words, we’ll hold him to a fair standard as soon we’re done applying an unfair one. …
So, for whatever our advice is worth, drawn from a combined 18 years as floor leaders: We support eliminating the pretense of a 60-vote “requirement.” In the hands of today’s Democrats, 60 votes assures defeat of future Republican presidential nominees. As their opposition to Gorsuch shows, no similar nominee could ever be confirmed if that “requirement” remains.
Chuck Schumer’s Filibuster Lineup
The Judiciary Committee sent Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate Monday on an 11-9 “party-line vote,” as the press likes to say. What a shame. All nine committee Democrats lined up like the Rockettes to oppose the nominee whose qualifications and temperament are universally hailed. At least 41 Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have also committed to filibuster Judge Gorsuch on the Senate floor, so he will need 60 votes to be confirmed. This will force Republicans to change Senate rules to break what would be the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in history. Democrats and their media friends want to portray Republicans as the radicals in this case, but Democrats are the precedent-busters. …
Republicans should call Mr. Schumer’s bluff and confirm Judge Gorsuch to honor their campaign promises, to defeat the implacable left, and above all for the good of the Court and the original meaning of the Constitution.
Actually, Neil Gorsuch is a champion of the little guy
It’s hard to see what Hirono, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer and all the other Democrats are talking about when they say Gorsuch doesn’t stick up for the little guy. But if you look more closely at his cases and the Democrats’ charges, you realize what the Democrats mean. First, in Yellowbear, Little Sisters, Makkar, Carloss and the burping case, Gorsuch was ruling against government overreach. In Kelo, he praised the ruling against the government. And there’s the issue. When Democrats talk about being for the little guy, they often mean being for government power. The two concepts are inseparable in the liberal mind-set. So nuns facing down the drug industry and the Department of Health and Human Services — or a working-class woman in a little pink house staring down a bulldozer, the local government, and a developer — don’t count as the little guy because they’re annoying wrenches thrown in the gears of government. But there’s another hidden meaning in the Democrats’ “little guy” attack. …
Is a judge’s job to discern the law or to rule in favor of the good guy in a story? Gorsuch once wrote, “A judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.” And here we see the most important way Gorsuch is the friend of the little guy: He upholds the rule of law, and the rule of law is the little guy’s best friend. Well-meaning liberals want the law to be flexible so they can accommodate the little guy. But that’s not what happens in real life. A flexible, living, bendable law will always tend to be bent in the direction of the powerful — in the direction of the prison guard who wields the power to physically dominate an unpopular prisoner, in the direction of the developer and the drug company who wield political connections and grand plans for a widow’s property, and in the direction of a federal government that will trample the voiceless to advance its ideology. The rule of law doesn’t care if you’re powerful or powerless; it applies to all. Gorsuch has spent his years on the bench reading the law and applying it, without animus or favor. That’s bad news for those, such as New London’s mandarins or the Obama administration’s HHS, who want special treatment. It’s good news for the little guy.
Senate Republican Suicide
House Republicans immolated themselves over health care last week, and now Democrats are hoping the Senate GOP will perform its own kamikaze turn over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. If Republicans blink and tolerate Democratic filibusters of High Court nominees, they should hand over their majority to the Democrats now. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s strategy is transparent: Stage-manage an unprecedented filibuster against Judge Gorsuch, and then portray Republicans as radicals if they change Senate rules to break it. The gambit is to coax at least three of the 52 GOP Senators to cut a deal with Democrats that hands the minority political leverage over President Trump’s judicial nominees. Mr. Schumer and other Democrats are trying to lure those Republicans into a deal by preaching a false institutionalism that claims to be acting for the good of the Senate. They want to scare the GOP into believing that breaking a filibuster would somehow break the Senate as a deliberative body that requires 60 votes and bipartisan consensus to act. But the real radical act is a Supreme Court filibuster. …
If Democrats know they can block any nominee with a filibuster, they can dictate that no one on Donald Trump’s campaign list of 21 potential nominees can be confirmed. …
This would betray the voters who elected Donald Trump and a GOP Senate in 2016. The Supreme Court wasn’t some political afterthought last year. It was central to the campaign and crucial in motivating millions of Americans to go to the polls. If you think GOP voters are angry now, imagine what they’ll be like if Republicans let Democrats block conservative judges. This would be Senate Republican suicide.
Gorsuch Against the Extremists
The trials of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he is almost certainly en route to his place on the Supreme Court, reveal one of my favorite findings regarding modern politics, to wit: The Democrats are the extremists; the Republicans are mainstream. The Democrats are the ideologues; the Republicans usually base their policies and political judgments on philosophy. When it comes to choosing justices for the Supreme Court, Republicans and conservatives put aside their ideal judicial outcomes and settle on apolitical criteria. They decide to cast their vote for or against a candidate for the court purely on whether the candidate has sound moral character, and has demonstrated a sound knowledge of the law and good judgment in applying the law. A candidate's duty once raised to the Supreme Court is to see to it that each case corresponds to the rules of the Constitution or the letter of statutes. If a case does not, it is for the legislators to change the law. It is for the Congress to legislate. It is for the judiciary to see to it that the legislation is in accordance with the Constitution. Democrats and the left see things differently. To them, the courts -- in Gorsuch's case, the Supreme Court -- are to make judgments that accord with their political views. To their minds, the courts are superior to the elected legislators. In other words, the courts are the last word in the legislative process. So I suppose the American citizenry could save a lot of money and public angst by simply disbanding the legislative branch. The judiciary and the bureaucracy are sufficient for running the state.
Neil Gorsuch, the scholar and the man
To hear others speak of 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge and Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, it is as if the phrase “scholar and gentleman” were coined to describe him. For some, the expression might be a grudging way of expressing personal respect and admiration for a man whose judicial philosophy they do not share and whose seat on the court they would rather have been filled by a Democratic president. Yet the phrase fits the man precisely. Judge Gorsuch is a careful scholar of extraordinary ability. And he is a gentleman, generous toward others and well-liked by those who know him. His service on the court would model the impartiality and civility that we need in this fractious and agenda-driven age. …
The commitment of Neil Gorsuch-the-scholar to treat all sides with the same charitable but rigorous engagement is not an artificial persona. It is borne out of his character. As someone who has been privileged to discuss legal and moral philosophy with him, I can attest that Judge Gorsuch extends the same rigorous and charitable respect toward those from whom he stands to gain nothing, whose credentials pale in comparison with his own, who do not occupy positions of power and influence. Neil Gorsuch the scholar and Neil Gorsuch the judge are both natural extensions of Neil Gorsuch the man. He is, in the classic sense of the term, magnanimous — great in mind and soul. We would all benefit from seeing this trait on display at our nation’s highest court.
Gorsuch’s Foes Embarrass the Senate
What sort of civics lesson were the American people treated to last week? Judge Gorsuch’s performance was outstanding. Enduring more than 20 hours of questioning over two days, he displayed an impressive command of the law and an intellect befitting someone with his stellar credentials. He showed that he understands the proper role of a judge in our system: to apply, not make, the law. Throughout, his demeanor was serious, thoughtful and humble. These qualities have defined his judicial service for the past decade and will serve him well on the Supreme Court. In stark contrast was the astonishing treatment Judge Gorsuch received from many of my Democratic colleagues. Whatever their motivation—be it the outcome of President Obama’s lame-duck nomination during last year’s election, an unwillingness to accept the November results, or the desire for judges to push a liberal political agenda—they have apparently decided to wage a desperate, scorched-earth campaign to derail this nomination, no matter the damage they inflict along the way. We are now watching the confirmation process through the funhouse mirror. …
Consider also the way some of my colleagues misrepresented Judge Gorsuch’s record. Their attempts were so formulaic that they read like a recipe: First, cherry-pick one of the judge’s opinions in which a sympathetic victim lost. Next, gloss over the legal issues that informed his decision in the case. Then fail to mention that his opinions were often joined by colleagues appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama. After that, ignore the many times that Judge Gorsuch ruled in favor of similar litigants. End with a wild assertion about how Judge Gorsuch must be biased against “the little guy.” We should call these phony attacks what they are: intentional attempts to mischaracterize Judge Gorsuch’s record. …
In Judge Gorsuch, the country has a Supreme Court nominee as fine as I could ever imagine. But instead of the best traditions of the advice-and-consent process, which many of us have tried to live up to, what does he get? Hypocritical attacks on the very judicial independence Democrats claim to prize, misleading characterizations of his record, and now a promise to filibuster his nomination.
Schumer’s Gorsuch Gambit
So much for Senate deliberation. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch had barely finished his testimony when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday that he would vote against the judge and demand 60 votes for confirmation. Republicans will have to be prepared to call this Democratic bluff. “Judge Gorsuch’s nomination will face a cloture vote & as I’ve said, he will have to earn sixty votes for confirmation,” Mr. Schumer tweeted. On the Senate floor he explained that Judge Gorsuch “almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak” and is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology.” Judge Gorsuch was also “groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.” You’d think the Federalist Society is some secret society in a Dan Brown novel. In the real world it’s a mainstream group of 60,000 legal minds who run the conservative gamut from Borkean judicial restraint types to Scalia originalists to Randy Barnett libertarians. As far as we know their conferences are public and no torture rituals are involved. By offering this pathetic excuse for opposition, Mr. Schumer is really saying that no one nominated by President Trump can be confirmed. Mr. Trump relied on Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society in creating the list of 21 potential nominees he made public during the campaign, one of whom was Judge Gorsuch. …
The Supreme Court was a central issue in 2016, and Republicans won the Senate and the White House. If Mr. Schumer insists on a filibuster, then Republicans have an obligation to respect their voters and confirm Judge Gorsuch anyway.
Gorsuch’s Free-Speech Lesson
Senate Democrats have been flailing this week trying to land a punch against Neil Gorsuch, but the Supreme Court nominee has had much more success in his role as a legal counterpuncher. Take the nominee’s response to Democratic hectoring over the First Amendment. Rhode Island limelighter Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday took to badgering Judge Gorsuch about some $10 million in “dark money” that is being spent on advertising to support his confirmation. He demanded to know if the appellate judge believes these dollars are “corrupting our politics.” Progressives like Mr. Whitehouse want to ban anonymous political spending, the better to harass and intimidate opponents from participating in politics. Recall the IRS attacks on Tea Party groups, or the Wisconsin John Doe raids against conservative activists. Judge Gorsuch offered the Senator a tutorial on free speech. “The First Amendment, which I’m sworn to uphold as a judge, contains two competing messages,” he explained. On the one hand, Congress has the right to pass legislation requiring more disclosure in political spending. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has an obligation to ensure that such disclosure doesn’t “chill expression.” He cited in particular the 1958 Supreme Court decision, NAACP v. Alabama, that protected donors to the civil-rights group from disclosure in the Jim Crow era. This is reassuring. In recent decades, the High Court with the honorable exception of Justice Clarence Thomas has been too willing to tolerate mandated donor disclosure, even as evidence mounts that activists and prosecutors have used it to target and shut down political opponents. A return to the NAACP standard would be an enormous boon to free speech and political participation.
Neil Gorsuch sails through Supreme Court confirmation hearing
Federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch appeared headed for eventual confirmation to the Supreme Court on Wednesday as Democratic senators sought to influence him on issues, ranging from arbitration to women's rights, that could come before the high court in the future. What had been a contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearing a day earlier morphed into a sort of civics lesson on legal and legislative problems in which the senators and the nominee chatted about potential solutions. Thus it was that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., implored the 49-year-old Gorsuch not to stick rigidly to the words of a Constitution written more than two centuries ago. “I really don’t know, when you’re there, what you’re going to do with it," she said, already imagining Gorsuch on the high court. …
If Democrats seemed resigned to Gorsuch's confirmation, it was for good reason. Republicans control the Senate, 52-48, giving them enough votes to change its rules if necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster requiring 60 votes. But Gorsuch's steady performance through two grueling days of testimony lent an air of inevitability to the process that bordered on coronation.
Neil Gorsuch, How Would You Vote?
Democrats have come up empty trying to find something scandalous that Neil Gorsuch has said, so now they’re blaming him for what he won’t say. To wit, they want him to declare how he would rule in specific areas of the law—questions that every Supreme Court nominee declines to answer. Vermont Senator Pat Leahy said last week he would “insist on real answers from Judge Gorsuch.” At Monday’s opening day of Senate hearings, Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal told Judge Gorsuch that while the committee might ordinarily respect a nominee’s reticence on cases, ordinary rules don’t apply for President Trump’s nominee. “If you fail to be explicit and forthcoming,” he said, the committee would have to assume his views were in line with Mr. Trump’s. That’s wildly inappropriate since Judge Gorsuch can’t know the facts or the law of future cases that would come before the Court. If he were to speak out extensively on any case at the confirmation hearing, his comments could require his recusal. Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor didn’t have to meet this open-kimono standard. Neither did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said at the time of her confirmation hearings in 1993 that “[a] judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints; for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.” …
The Democrats’ Trump disavowal standard is especially disingenuous. They want him to declare his independence from the executive, but in doing so he would be making himself more dependent on Congress for the sake of confirmation. As a judge under Article III of the Constitution, he owes Congress and the White House only such deference as the Constitution dictates, no more or less. What’s really going on here is that Democrats are grasping for a reason, any reason, to justify a vote against Judge Gorsuch. Their liberal supporters are demanding opposition—you know, “the resistance”—and if they can’t find something on the record they’ll invent something that isn’t on the record.
Full Text of Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch's Remarks to Senate Panel
When I put on the robe, I am also reminded that under our Constitution, it is for this body, the people’s representatives, to make new laws. For the executive to ensure those laws are faithfully enforced. And for neutral and independent judges to apply the law in the people’s disputes. If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk. And those who came to court would live in fear, never sure exactly what governs them except the judge’s will. As Alexander Hamilton explained, "liberty can have nothing to fear from” judges who apply the law, but liberty "ha[s] every thing to fear" if judges try to legislate too. In my decade on the bench, I have tried to treat all who come to court fairly and with respect. I have decided cases for Native Americans seeking to protect tribal lands, for class actions like one that ensured compensation for victims of nuclear waste pollution by corporations in Colorado. I have ruled for disabled students, prisoners, and workers alleging civil rights violations. Sometimes, I have ruled against such persons too. But my decisions have never reflected a judgment about the people before me — only my best judgment about the law and facts at issue in each particular case. For the truth is, a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is probably a pretty bad judge, stretching for the policy results he prefers rather than those the law compels.
It's Showtime: Leonard A. Leo Previews the Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing
His long trek through more than 70 senators' offices behind him, Judge Neil Gorsuch now comes before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary knowing at least two things for sure. First, he can expect Democratic members to offer uplifting discourses on the vital principle of judicial independence. And second, those very members will demand answers and specific commitments that, were he to oblige, would seriously compromise judicial independence. The message of the day has already been announced by progressive pressure groups: "No answers, no confirmation." For current members of the Supreme Court, who have been through it all themselves, it will doubtless bring back uneasy memories. Invariably during confirmation hearings, inquiries into the quality of mind and fitness of a nominee devolve into attempts to extract specific promises on matters likely to come before the Court. It's never enough for some senators to understand a nominee's general approach to constitutional issues. They want to know exactly how that nominee would vote on the usual issues—in effect, a solemn pledge to support and defend the liberal agenda. It's lost on the progressive left how this undermines any coherent definition of judicial independence. Their project for so many years now has been to bend the federal courts to their own ideological purposes, advancing changes in law that could not be achieved in the elected branches of government. Prior Court decisions favored by liberals are to be treated with hushed reverence, as if enshrined in law for all time and never again to be questioned. Less favored rulings are to be regarded as open questions, ripe for reconsideration. If a nominee doesn't display a feel for all this, knowing which precedents call for genuflection and which require an air of earnest skepticism, that's when the trouble usually starts. This time around, we're told that the nominee must meet not one test but two. Judge Gorsuch will have to contend with question after question seeking commitments that no person truly qualified to sit on the Court would even consider making. More than that, Democrats insist that for the judge to receive a floor vote, 60 senators must first declare their support. Along with "no answers, no confirmation," we now have "no supermajority, no vote." Neither test has any basis whatever in either the Constitution or in historical practice.
Friends of Gorsuch stump for Supreme Court nominee in St. Louis to pressure McCaskill
The U.S. Senate will begin its confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch next week. But testimony for and against the Denver-based jurist is already underway in newsrooms, radio studios and media conference calls from North Dakota to Montana to Missouri. …
“We are here to talk about Judge Gorsuch as a person,” Colorado attorney and former Gorsuch law clerk Michael Davis said Wednesday in a conference room in the Post-Dispatch’s downtown St. Louis office, where he sat with seven other former Gorsuch clerks, colleagues, friends and even a high school classmate. “We’re not part of the political or the partisan process at all,” Davis said. “We just want to personify the guy.”
Gary Marx, a senior adviser for the group, said the purpose of taking people from Gorsuch’s life around to newsrooms was to “talk about who the judge is as a man.” But he was also blunt about the end game: “We’re excited about the potential of Judge Gorsuch continuing on what was Judge Scalia’s legacy, philosophically .”
The Gorsuch supporters who stopped in St. Louis Wednesday described a “mainstream” judge who keeps political ideology out of his rulings and who treats his clerks “like family,” in the words of several of them. Former Gorsuch clerk David Feder, now a Los Angeles attorney, recalled being invited to Gorsuch’s home for Thanksgiving during his time as his clerk when the judge learned he couldn’t go home for the holidays. Others told of an annual ski outing he took with them. Several of them agreed Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy was “Scalia-like” in its Constitutional originalism, but stressed that he eschewed any political goals in his rulings. Tobi Young, a former Gorsuch clerk now practicing law in Texas, said Gorsuch adhered to the tenet that “any judge who likes every conclusion he reaches is a bad judge.”
Former solicitors general pen letter supporting Gorsuch to congressional leaders
Former solicitors general serving under Democratic and Republican presidents penned a letter of support for Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination on Wednesday. The solicitors general — who served under former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — wrote Senate leadership to express their support for Gorsuch's confirmation. The solicitors general signatories include Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under Obama after the president selected Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court. "Through different administrations, both Republican and Democrat, we have served as the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court," the solicitors general wrote. "Collectively, we have argued hundreds of cases before the Supreme Court and the federal appeals courts. Through our experience and close interaction with the court, we have developed an appreciation for the qualifications that a position on the court demands. Notwithstanding our service to presidents of different parties, we are unified in our belief that Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the court and should be confirmed."
Democrats' Misguided Argument Against Gorsuch
I’m not sure who decided that the Democratic critique of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would be that he doesn’t side with the little guy. It’s a truly terrible idea. Like other liberals, I’m still shocked and upset that Judge Merrick Garland never got the vote he deserved after his nomination by President Barack Obama, and I’d rather have a progressive justice join the court. But the thing is, siding with workers against employers isn’t a jurisprudential position. It’s a political stance. And justices -- including progressive justices -- shouldn’t decide cases based on who the parties are. They should decide cases based on their beliefs about how the law should be interpreted. Let’s start at the beginning. Way back in the beginning, in fact. The Hebrew Bible, which sides with the little guy a great deal, has something to say about parties to a case. Specifically, Deuteronomy 16:19 says judges shouldn’t “respect persons,” which is the King James Version’s translation of the Hebrew phrase that literally means “recognize faces.” Justice -- which is mentioned in the famous next verse (“Justice, justice shalt thou pursue”) -- requires judges to decide cases under the law, not based on preferences for individuals. If the Bible doesn’t convince you, consider the whole point of a rule-of-law system: It establishes rules so that people can be confident in advance of how decisions are made. That creates regularity and predictability. And in the long run, it protects the little guy a lot better than a system rigged to favor one side, because such systems will naturally tend to favor the rich and powerful, not the poor and downtrodden. Assuring that the rule of law is followed is in fact the specific role of appellate judges, like Gorsuch. Trial judges find facts and also interpret the law. Appellate judges aren’t supposed to revisit facts determined by the trial court. They’re supposed to make sure the legal rules are applied consistently. Looking at the Gorsuch decisions that the Democrats have made into their touchstones demonstrates how misguided their strategy is, legally speaking.
Here’s why I support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court
The Neil Gorsuch I got to know as a student was the same man of high character who stood before the nation on the evening of Jan. 31, and spoke with gratitude and humility about being nominated to a place on this nation’s highest court. He said, “Practicing in the trial-work trenches of the law, I saw, too, that when we judges don our robes, it doesn’t make us any smarter, but does serve as a reminder of what’s expected of us: Impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage.” These are the words of a man who loves the law. He is deeply committed to the rule of law, and to the discipline of rigorous legal analysis. But above all, he is a fair and decent human being. He is temperate and respectful in his interactions. At Oxford, we enjoyed lively debates about our chosen dissertation topics, but always with respect and with focus on the quality of the arguments. A man of his character in public service is a great asset to this country. Particularly now. …
Instead, to those who worry that Justice Gorsuch would make ideologically driven decisions, I offer his own statement at his nomination: “A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge — stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” This is not mere window-dressing. As someone who sat in the Oxford law library with him, day after day, both of us working to develop and refine arguments sound enough to pass an Oxford doctoral examination, I say with assurance that Neil Gorsuch has not only the commitment, but the intelligence, training and discipline to get the legal analysis right. And he has the humility and generosity to give all sides a fair and respectful hearing. Speaking as a progressive Democrat, I encourage all sides in the Senate — and the nation — to give Judge Gorsuch a fair and respectful hearing as well.
Democrats paralyzed as Gorsuch skates
Democrats can’t seem to land a punch on Neil Gorsuch — and it’s not even clear they want to. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has breezed through more than 70 meetings with senators. Opponents who’ve scoured his record have found little to latch onto. And some Democrats are privately beginning to believe that Gorsuch — barring a blunder at his Senate confirmation hearings next week — will clinch the 60 votes he needs to be approved without a filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has been taking the temperature of the Senate Democratic Caucus but hasn’t begun whipping hard against Gorsuch, sources familiar with the matter said. Indeed, despite anger from the Democratic base that senators have cowered from a fight against Trump’s high court pick, the sole strategic decision the Democratic Caucus has made about Gorsuch ahead of his confirmation hearings is to make no decision at all. …
Exacerbating the indecision is the fact that a handful of Democrats facing tough reelection bids next year may face political retribution from the right or left, no matter how they vote on Gorsuch. The competing impulses have produced a public posture of apparent ambivalence and, according to one Democratic senator, a feeling that “there is no caucus strategy.”
NRA Freedom Action Foundation buys TV ads to tout guns ahead of Supreme Court hearing
Days before Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings are set to begin, the National Rifle Association Freedom Action Foundation will air TV ads across the nation to highlight the importance of the Supreme Court’s makeup to gun rights. “Four Supreme Court justices believe you have the right to defend yourselves with a gun. Four do not,” the narrator in the ad begins. “The men and women of the NRA will not let anti-gun elites strip away our rights or our freedom.” The nearly $1 million ad buy will air across the nation on broadcast, cable and satellite. The ad, provided to McClatchy, will run Tuesday through March 22. Gorsuch’s hearings start March 20. …
“The Supreme Court played a pivotal role in affirming our Second Amendment rights in its historic Heller and McDonald decisions,” said Chris W. Cox, president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation. “But it’s critical for Americans to remember that their basic right to keep a gun in their homes for self-defense survived at the court by only one vote. This ad campaign highlights that important reality.”
A Personal Reflection on Judge Neil M. Gorsuch from a Former Colleague
I served with Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for over three years, before I left the bench to teach constitutional law at Stanford. I sat with him in about fifty cases. Sometimes we disagreed, strongly. More often, we agreed. I want to share my impressions of Judge Gorsuch because I assume that most Americans are fair-minded enough to evaluate him on the basis of his character, his ability, and his judicial temperament. In my opinion, based on my personal knowledge of Neil Gorsuch as a judge, the President could not have made a finer appointment. …
I first met Judge Neil Gorsuch in 2006. I was immediately struck by his intellectual seriousness and open and gracious personality. He treats everyone with respect. Not just fellow judges, but also lawyers, law clerks, and court personnel—everyone. When discussing a point of law, Judge Gorsuch listens and learns. He does not act as if he always knows the answers. I have seen him change his mind as a result of discussion. …
From his first days on the court, Judge Gorsuch was an independent thinker, never a party-liner. I asked my research assistant to examine every case in which Judge Gorsuch sat with a mix of Republican- and Democratic-appointed judges and reached divided conclusions. In the past five years, in almost one-third of those cases, Judge Gorsuch voted with his liberal colleagues, not with the conservatives. That is the record of a moderate, fair-minded, nonpartisan jurist. This is not just my opinion. Liberal and progressive law professors all over the country, not caught up in the politics of the day, have come to the same conclusion. No one agrees with all of Judge Gorsuch’s opinions. I certainly don’t. But they are without exception thoughtful, moderate, and independent. Judge Gorsuch is undoubtedly conservative, but he has not the slightest touch of the extreme. Those who describe him as “outside of the mainstream” would have to say the same of any Republican appointee.
Bar association gives Gorsuch its best rating
The American Bar Association declared Judge Neil Gorsuch “well-qualified” to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, giving President Donald Trump’s pick to succeed the late Antonin Scalia the group’s highest rating. The bar association’s standing committee on the federal judiciary reached its decision unanimously, according to Nancy Scott Degan, the group’s chair. …
Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, reacted to the bar association’s decision with a glowing statement on Thursday. “The ABA’s ringing endorsement is no surprise given Judge Gorsuch’s sterling credentials and his distinguished decade-long record on the Tenth Circuit,” Grassley said. “Former Chairman [Patrick] Leahy and Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer have called the ABA’s assessment the ‘gold standard’ in evaluating federal judicial nominations. In light of Judge Gorsuch's impeccable record, it’s hard to imagine any other result from the ABA's consideration.” “It shows his credentials are impeccable,” added former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the judge’s so-called “sherpa” guiding him through the confirmation process. “It’s also a reflection on the way that he treats litigants [and] shows you what type of judge he has been and would be if he were confirmed on the Supreme Court.”
Neil Gorsuch Is the Impartial Judge Our Supreme Court Needs
It is vital that America’s courts interpret the law rather than making it. Judge Gorsuch understands and respects the judiciary’s proper constitutional role. As the longest-serving current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have participated in 13 Supreme Court confirmations. The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, set to begin with hearings in just a few days’ time, will be my 14th. If one thing has stayed the same in all that time, it is that the conflict over judicial appointments — and especially Supreme Court appointments — is fundamentally a conflict over the proper role of a judge. The two sides of this conflict are represented by two kinds of judges. One is impartial; the other is political. The impartial judge embodies the role envisioned by the Founders in our Constitution, fulfilling his duty to “say what the law is,” rather than reinventing the law as he wishes it would be. By contrast, the political judge views the role of the judiciary as no different than that of the legislature, using judicial review as a metaphorical “second bite at the apple” to achieve his preferred political objectives. …
Anyone with a basic understanding of civics could tell you that the prospect of a judge’s making up his mind on a case before hearing all the evidence and arguments is inimical to the very idea of the judiciary as it was conceived in the Constitution. Codes of judicial conduct across the country echo this sentiment. The ABA Model Code says that judges should not make pledges, promises, or commitments in connection with issues that are likely to come before them. And the federal Code of Conduct for United States Judges prohibits judges from giving “public comment on the merits of a matter pending or impending in any court.” It has been the consistent practice of judicial nominees of both parties to follow these rules before the Judiciary Committee. For example, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by President Clinton in 1993, said that offering forecasts or hints of how she might rule on specific matters before that court “would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.” And Justice Antonin Scalia, whose vacancy Judge Gorsuch has been nominated to fill, said after his nomination by President Reagan in 1986 that refusing to offer such forecasts or previews is the only way for a judge to protect his impartiality. By asking nominees to pre-judge cases and pre-commit to particular outcomes, liberals are not just violating the niceties of protocol; they are attacking the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, all the while claiming they want “mainstream” judges. They can’t have it both ways.
Why We Support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court
We are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents; progressives, conservatives and moderates; religious and non-observant; married, single and divorced; men and women; straight and gay. Our group includes citizens residing abroad and a U.S. resident holding a green card. We live in big cities, rural America and places in between. Some of us supported Hillary Clinton, others voted for Donald Trump, while some of us supported thirdparty or write-in candidates. Some signatories believe in a more active judiciary, while others believe in judicial restraint. What unites us is that we attended law school with Judge Neil Gorsuch—a man we’ve known for more than a quarter century—and we unanimously believe Neil possesses the exemplary character, outstanding intellect, steady temperament, humility and open-mindedness to be an excellent addition to the United States Supreme Court. …
You meet a lot of people over more than 25 years. We are privileged to have worked with and known people in all walks of American life, including in some cases U.S. Presidents, other Supreme Court Justices, Senators, Representatives, business leaders and Americans from a broad array of backgrounds and perspectives. With this quarter-century vantage point, we know that Judge Gorsuch is the real deal. His character is sterling. Judge Gorsuch is a loyal husband and father. You can always tell a lot about a public figure by how he or she treats people on a daily basis when others are not watching. The security guards, court clerks, janitors and others who work with Judge Gorsuch every day sing his praises. He treats them as colleagues and with genuine respect – and they remember and appreciate that. Judge Neil Gorsuch is a person for all seasons. For Republicans, Neil personifies a disinterested philosophy that respects judicial modesty combined with compassionate appreciation of the lives impacted by his decisions. For Democrats, he is a reasonable, qualified, intelligent person who will give each case fair and impartial consideration on its merits with sensitivity to our nation’s history, values, aspirations and constitutional traditions. For all Americans, he is a person of integrity who respects the rule of law and will ensure that it applies equally to all.
There is no principled reason to vote against Gorsuch
Gorsuch — my former law partner and longtime friend — is brilliant, diligent, open-minded and thoughtful. He was the only Supreme Court candidate considered by this administration that I could support. The Senate should confirm him because there is no principled reason to vote no. …
Over the course of his career, he has represented both plaintiffs and defendants. He has defended large corporations, but also sued them. He has advocated for the Chamber of Commerce, but also filed (and prevailed with) class actions on behalf of consumers. We should applaud such independence of mind and spirit in Supreme Court nominees. …
Anyone who sees Gorsuch as automatically pro-corporation should talk to the officers at Rockwell International and Dow Chemical, against whom he reinstated a $920 million jury verdict for environmental contamination at the Rocky Flats nuclear facility. Executives at U.S. Tobacco Company might also be wringing their hands at the moment, given that Gorsuch, as an attorney, helped to attain one of the largest antitrust verdicts in history against the company. Gorsuch’s approach to resolving legal problems as a lawyer and a judge embodies a reverence for our country’s values and legal system. The facts developed in a case matter to him; the legal rules established by legislatures and through precedent deserve deep respect; and the importance of treating of litigants, counsel and colleagues with civility is deeply ingrained in him.
Neil Gorsuch: A Supreme Court pick whose writing is down to earth
When Justice Antonin Scalia backed out of a book project with writing partner Bryan Garner, the justice recommended who might take his place. Neil Gorsuch was first on this list. Experts who spend time examining the writing of the nation’s top judges say it’s not hard to see why the veteran jurist would recommend the man whom President Donald Trump would later nominate to fill the Supreme Court seat Scalia held for nearly 30 years. “He has a great facility with ideas and with words,” Garner said. An examination of Gorsuch’s writings shows he can be breezy with the written word. He can be jocular. He invokes myth and literature and even sports. And you don’t have to agree with his opinions as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to appreciate the final product.
Garner said he liked the “down-to-earth, practical, fully understandable questions” that Gorsuch sometimes asks at the start of his opinions. Gorsuch is among 13 state and federal judges who joined as co-authors, with Garner, of “The Law of Judicial Precedent,” the book about judges’ opinions that Garner originally hoped to write with Scalia.
A justice’s ability to write well improves the chances that the other judges, lawyers and anyone else who reads opinions will understand what the law is. Justices who write poorly tend to have little lasting influence and can be easily forgotten, Garner said.
Neil Gorsuch's Columbia Classmates Wrote a Letter of Support For His Supreme Court Nomination
More than 150 of Neil Gorsuch's former classmates at Columbia University, both Democrats and Republicans, have written a letter supporting his nomination to the Supreme Court. The letter, sent this week to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) and provided exclusively to TIME, recounts Gorsuch's academic achievements and his genial presence on campus. "On campus, Neil was an upstanding person and a devoted friend; a man of unyielding integrity, faith in our institutions and unfailing politeness," the letter says. "For his kindness and down-to-earth persona, we often joked that he was a modern-day Jimmy Stewart."
The missive stresses the diversity of its 154 signatories, perhaps a strategic nod to Democrats who have demanded a "mainstream" Supreme Court pick. "Among us are CEOs and stay at home parents, finance executives and professors, lawyers and doctors, writers and artists, actors and musicians, entrepreneurs and engineers, scientists and salesmen, a public company president and a public school principal," the letter says. "We are of different faiths and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents."
Gorsuch good choice for U.S. Supreme Court
I am not sure how a U.S. Senator decides how to measure the qualifications of a judicial candidate. If it is on tangibles like education and legal career, Gorsuch would be hard not to support. It would be difficult to find finer education and career credentials. …
I have a good college friend who has a plaintiff’s civil practice in Colorado. He is a staunch Democrat. He praised Judge Gorsuch as “a mainstream conservative who follows the law, and is known as a nice guy.” Judge Gorsuch believes judges should follow the law, not make it. That policy decisions are up to Congress, not Courts. Gorsuch favors state’s rights over federal rights, and believes the Constitution should be given its original intent, not to be changed based on today’s mores. Importantly for Montanans, Gorsuch is a fellow Westerner. In the end analysis, I believe the selection of Judge Gorsuch is a home run. He will make an excellent Supreme Court justice and should be confirmed without delay.
Neil Gorsuch and Natural Law
Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Although the Committee will have a lot of legitimate issues to consider, some outsiders are trying to interest it in two unusual topics: natural law, and the writings of a professor named John Finnis. These topics are distractions. The committee's main business is to see whether Judge Gorsuch is qualified to apply the law impartially as a judge. And if the committee does decide to explore natural law or Finnis's writings, those sources will point the committee back to its main business. …
"Natural law" is a way of saying that there are objective standards for right and wrong guiding politics. But natural law principles don't supply cookie-cutter solutions to political problems. Reasonable people often disagree about how general objective standards apply to specific problems. To resolve such disagreements, natural law justifies elections and constitutional government—but it also requires the government's officers to follow the Constitution and the laws made pursuant to it. This basic lesson is now black-letter American constitutional law.
This lesson is also a basic teaching of Professor Finnis. In his best-known book, Natural Law and Natural Rights, Finnis explained that the "moral norms" that constitute the natural law "justify (a) the very institution of positive law [and] (b) ... separation of powers." In a 2015 lecture, Finnis criticized many modern judges (especially European ones) for giving "judgments assuming the roles of constitution makers and legislators." …
Natural law and Finnis's writings on it just confirm what the Senate Judiciary Committee already knows. The committee's business is to investigate whether Judge Gorsuch is dedicated to discerning and applying controlling law impartially, as he said he was in this speech.
Colorado senator facing pressure to back home-state Neil Gorsuch
Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrat, is facing increasing pressure to support home-state Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Republicans try to build support for the nomination among Democrats one-by-one. The Colorado Springs Gazette called Mr. Bennet’s confirmation vote on Judge Gorsuch a “loyalty test” to the state, while the Denver Post urged the senator not to be tempted to follow fellow Democrats, who want to block whomever President Trump picks. Mr. Bennet isn’t tipping his hand, waving off a reporter’s questions about the judge and the growing sentiment that he would betray his state by refusing to vote for confirmation. “I haven’t seen them,” he said when asked about the editorials in the papers. …
Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, expressed surprise that Mr. Bennet hadn’t seen the editorials and op-eds backing Judge Gorsuch. “There’s been an increasing flory of activity in Colorado in support of Judge Gorsuch. I think they all would like to see the second Supreme Court justice in history from their state confirmed, especially someone as qualified as Neil Gorsuch,” said Ms. Severino. She said having a westerner on the court “would be a real breath of fresh air.” “They have a real tradition of independence, of cherishing the liberty that our Constitution protects,” said Ms. Severino. He Judicial Crisis Network has spent more than $500,000 on advertisements in Colorado supporting the nomination.
Neil Gorsuch is exactly the kind of Supreme Court justice we need
People talk endlessly these days about how divided Americans are, but I'm not sure I believe it. Yes, it's true that Americans don't much agree on politics at the moment. And we are as religiously and ethnically diverse as we've ever been. But what we do share, and always have, is a deep attachment to an idea of justice: one founded on freedom and equality and embodied in the US Constitution. Year in and year out, it's that idea of justice, and that Constitution, that unites Americans. Which is why President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court is so important. To guard our most cherished values and the law that holds us together, America needs a Supreme Court justice committed to the people's Constitution. Neil Gorsuch is that person. I should know. I've seen Gorsuch at work, firsthand. My first job out of law school was on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where Gorsuch is a judge. I observed in the year that I worked at the court what many litigants and commentators have since noted, that Gorsuch possesses an incisive legal mind, writes with skill and wit, and is scrupulously fair. I have seen Gorsuch's work from the other side of the bench as well, in my practice as a constitutional lawyer. In 2013, Gorsuch's court decided one of the most significant religious liberty cases of the last half century, ruling that Americans do not give up their religious liberty rights when they start a family business. The name of the case was Hobby Lobby. I was one of the lawyers for the Green family, who run and own Hobby Lobby, at the US Supreme Court. When the case reached the justices of that Court, they agreed with Judge Gorsuch.
The left should be glad that Gorsuch is an originalist and not a conservative activist
With Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings coming up, we’re beginning to hear the usual tired attacks on “original understanding” approaches to interpreting the Constitution. One such attack, written by Prof. Richard Lempert and published by Brookings, drew a harsh rejoinder by Prof. Randy Barnett, who characterized it as “out of touch.” But Barnett made another point that’s worth thinking about here: What if right-leaning jurists listened to their critics on the left, and adopted a “living Constitution” approach instead of relying on what the Framers understood the text to mean? As Barnett asks: “Why would you possibly want a nonoriginalist ‘living constitutionalist’ conservative judge or justice who can bend the meaning of the text to make it evolve to conform to conservative political principles and ends? However much you disagree with it, wouldn’t you rather a conservative justice consider himself constrained by the text of the Constitution like, say, the Emoluments Clause?” …
Fortunately for the left, Judge Gorsuch appears to be devoted to interpreting the Constitution as it was understood by the Framers (in terms of its “original public meaning,” to use the law professor definition), and not to embracing a living Constitution. But my advice to those on the left attacking originalist approaches is this: Be careful what you ask for, because you won’t like it if you get it.
Red-state Democrats cheer for Judge Gorsuch at Trump’s joint address
President Trump touted his selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court's vacant seat during his Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress. "I have kept my promise to appoint a Justice to the United States Supreme Court — from my list of 20 judges — who will defend our Constitution," Trump said. "I am greatly honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery tonight. Thank you, Maureen. Her late, great husband, Antonin Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice." Trump continued: "To fill his seat, we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill, and deep devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously by the court of appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination."
Trump: Neil Gorsuch is a 'man of incredible skill' and 'deep devotion to the law'
President Trump touted his selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court's vacant seat during his Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress. "I have kept my promise to appoint a Justice to the United States Supreme Court — from my list of 20 judges — who will defend our Constitution," Trump said. "I am greatly honored to have Maureen Scalia with us in the gallery tonight. Thank you, Maureen. Her late, great husband, Antonin Scalia, will forever be a symbol of American justice." Trump continued: "To fill his seat, we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill, and deep devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously by the court of appeals, and I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination."
Pro-Gorsuch group running ads around Trump's joint session speech
The conservative-leaning Judicial Crisis Network will run ads in support of Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination on national television around the time of President Trump's address to Congress on Tuesday night. The 30-second ad will air on CNN before Trump's joint session speech and on NBC afterward. "Neil Gorsuch is dedicated to the Constitution and he understands the great power it gives to the American people," a narrator said in the ad. "Completely qualified, with bipartisan support, Neil Gorsuch is just who we need on the Supreme Court." The Judicial Crisis Network has implemented a $10 million campaign targeting Democratic senators in predominantly red states as part of its effort to boost support for Gorsuch's confirmation.
Waiting for Justice Gorsuch
If you want to know why millions of Republicans voted for Donald Trump despite their doubts about his values or policies, look no further than Tuesday’s ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on gun rights. The 10-4 en banc decision shows how a liberal Supreme Court majority would eviscerate the Second Amendment. …
The Supreme Court’s landmark D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008 upheld an individual right to bear arms, explicitly for guns in “common use.” But the Fourth Circuit’s judicial progressives didn’t let a mere precedent stand in their political way. They concocted a new “military use” legal test. Politicians can ban a firearm, they ruled, if a judge determines that it is “most useful in military service.” Give them credit for creativity if not fidelity to the law. As Judge William Traxler noted in searing dissent, the “heretofore unknown” military-use test is a purely judicial invention with no historical or legal basis. By that logic, he noted, the muskets favored by America’s colonial settlers could have been banned because they were clearly the same weapons they used in war. … This is also how a liberal Supreme Court majority would have gone about overturning Heller if Hillary Clinton been able to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Mr. Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch means that a new majority will soon be in place to reinforce Heller, and a good place to start would be to take the Fourth Circuit’s Kolbe ruling and reverse it after Mr. Gorsuch is confirmed.
Prominent Colorado attorneys call for Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed
Norm Brownstein and Steve Farber, two giants in Colorado’s legal and political world, joined with dozens of attorneys from the state this week in signing a letter to U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner urging them to support the confirmation of conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. …
The two added their names to other self-described members of Colorado’s legal community in saying: “We hold a diverse set of political views as Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Many of us have been critical of actions taken by President Trump. Nonetheless, we all agree that Judge Gorsuch is exceptionally well qualified to join the Supreme Court. He deserves an up or down vote.”
Ginsburg: Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is 'very easy to get along with'
President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is “very easy to get along with,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday, according to the Associated Press. “I’ve worked with him and I think he’s very easy to get along with,” she said during an appearance at George Washington University. “He writes very well.” Ginsburg, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton and assumed her seat on the court in 1993, said she met Gorsuch during a trip to the United Kingdom years ago.
Gorsuch Supreme Court fight shifts to the states
With senators back home this week, the fight over Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch has shifted to the states, where conservative activists are hoping to make red-state Democrats feel the heat. The Judicial Crisis Network said it’s running television and digital ads in Missouri and Indiana, hoping to pressure Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly to back the judge. The network is also staging events this week in nearly a dozen states won by President Trump last year but represented by Democrat senators. It’s part of a full-court press this week from conservative groups who figured one of the best times to reach lawmakers was when they are back home with their constituents.
Democrats persist with the slippery claim of a '60-vote standard’ for Supreme Court nominees
As we have noted before, there is no Senate “standard” that a nominee must have 60 votes for confirmation. But, under current Senate rules, it takes 60 votes (three-fifths of the Senate) to end debate on most legislation. Until Democrats changed the rules in 2013, it also took 60 votes to end debate on executive branch and most judicial nominations. The Democratic rule change did not include Supreme Court nominations. …
Democrats such as Baldwin appear to be arguing that because Alito received more than 60 votes on the vote to end debate, he met the “60-vote” standard, even though he did not receive 60 votes for confirmation. But Baldwin, in her interview, referred to “earning 60 bipartisan votes in the United States Senate,” which certainly sounds different from a mere cloture vote. The Pinocchio Test Democrats continue to be slippery with their language. Sixty votes is not “a standard” for Supreme Court confirmations, as two of the current justices on the court did not meet that supposed standard to get on the court. Baldwin earns Two Pinocchios.
OPINION: A solid defender of religious expression, the SCOTUS nominee also knows its limits
During his decade on the court, Gorsuch has had a surprising number of cases involving religious liberty. The most famous, of course, are the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, where Gorsuch voted to uphold religious freedom against government interference, a position affirmed by the Supreme Court. Those cases will dominate much of the debate concerning Gorsuch's nomination. But some of Gorsuch's lesser-known religious liberty cases also provide insight into his judicial philosophy. In all of his religion cases — well-known or not — Gorsuch has demonstrated both a commitment to and a deep understanding of the fundamental American principle of "religious liberty for all." In an increasingly diverse country, we need judges like that.
Simply stated, Gorsuch is steadfast and surprising
In the weeks since President Trump nominated Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, debate over him has split along predictably partisan lines, with praise from the right and anxious condemnation from the left. But Gorsuch himself is perhaps not so predictable. An examination of his development from gifted Colorado schoolboy to college firebrand and then staunchly conservative jurist reveals that he is quite capable of surprise. He grew up in a high-profile Republican family and became infamous in Columbia University’s liberal circles for penning fierce attacks on campus protesters. On the bench, he has subscribed to the same judicial philosophy as the late Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon whom Gorsuch would replace on the court. And Gorsuch’s recent rulings — including a major decision finding that companies could deny employees government-mandated contraceptive coverage on religious grounds — have won him plaudits from the right. But Gorsuch has also established deep and enduring relationships with liberals he has known since his school days — in some cases the very targets of his pointed attacks. He has won endorsements from gay friends and hired law clerks from the opposite end of the political spectrum. He has argued that the court system shortchanges low-income people and called for making legal services cheaper and courts more accessible. Even the simple writing style of his opinions, which have won wide attention in legal circles, reflects his conviction that the law should be understandable to everyone, lest it favor only the wealthy and well educated. …
At the small private school Gorsuch attended, Christ the King Roman Catholic School teachers drilled into their students the values of character, duty and service. While many students brushed off the moral lessons, Gorsuch seemed to internalize them.
Confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court
President Donald J. Trump promised the American people he would nominate an unwavering supporter of the United States Constitution to the Supreme Court. He has now kept that promise.
After recently meeting with him, it is abundantly clear that Judge Neil Gorsuch is an outstanding choice to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Democrats' Supreme Court double standard: Sen. Charles Grassley
The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s seat is the product of the most transparent and democratic judicial nomination process in recent history. On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump’s list of 21 potential nominees for the vacancy provided rare insight into who could be the next justice in a Trump presidency. The vacancy was on the minds of many voters as they elected Trump to be our next president. According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of voters considered the vacancy very important as they went to the polls. Prior to the president’s announcement, the minority leader called on him to nominate a “mainstream” candidate. There can be no serious debate that Judge Gorsuch meets that standard. He’s been praised by legal experts across the political spectrum as a mainstream jurist who applies the law without regard to person, politics or his own preferences. President Obama’s former solicitor general called him “one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last century.” That’s high praise. In 2006 Judge Gorsuch sailed through the Senate with unanimous approval. Thirty-one sitting senators were in the Senate when Gorsuch was confirmed, including 12 Democrats. Nonetheless, we have promised a rigorous and thorough review of this nominee, and that’s what we’ll do.
Decoding Gorsuch’s picks for his 10 ‘most significant’ opinions
In the past 25 or so years, since the infamous U.S. Senate debates on Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991, confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court justices have not been an exercise in enlightenment. You know how these things go: Senators grandstand and nominees display their superior intellects while politely (and often wittily) refusing to disclose anything even faintly controversial. …
But Judge Gorsuch’s own response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s formal questionnaire does offer significant clues. …
The most obvious messages from the opinions are already well known: Judge Gorsuch is deeply skeptical of judicial deference to federal agencies and highly sympathetic to the free exercise of authentic religious beliefs. But the judge’s self-selected most significant decisions also show him protecting the rights of criminal defendants, calling out the U.S. Supreme Court for confusing precedent and endorsing trial judges’ power to manage their dockets. Overall, the opinions on the list – I’m sure by design – portray a thoughtful, confident judge without a predictable political ideology.
Gorsuch worthy of Democrats' backing
When he was nominated for a federal judgeship in 2006, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate - not a single objection to an obviously qualified nominee. Though no one is expecting as smooth a ride for Gorsuch as President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, his qualifications are just as undeniable. The position of Senate liberals seems to be, "Announce your opposition, and find reasons later," but they will quickly learn it's a very tough case to make.
Like the justice he would succeed, the late Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch is highly regarded in legal circles for qualities having little to do with politics or ideology. Democrats and Republicans alike know him as a judge of extremely impressive ability, uncompromising in his sense of fairness and in his personal integrity.
Former law clerks herald Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's independence
In their letter, the former law clerks stressed Gorsuch's strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law, regardless of his opinions. "As law clerks who have worked at his side, we know that Judge Gorsuch never resolves a case by the light of his personal view of what the law should be," they said. "Nor does he ever bend the law to reach a particular result he desires."
Judge Gorsuch Is the Right Justice for America
A Supreme Court nomination, if handled improperly, can devolve into a partisan free-for-all, causing lasting damage to our institutions of government. That’s why last year the Senate leadership chose to wait for the dust of the election season to settle before considering a nominee to fill the Scalia vacancy. Our reasoning was simple: Plunging into a divisive confirmation fight in the heat of the most politically charged presidential campaign in recent memory would do more harm than good to the judiciary, the Senate, and the country. With the din of the election behind us, the Senate can now offer its advice and consent without the distraction and distortion of a presidential campaign. So the question now before the chamber is whether Judge Gorsuch is qualified—by legal experience and judicial philosophy—to serve on the Supreme Court. In answering this question, we need look no further than Judge Gorsuch’s record. … Judge Gorsuch’s record is above reproach. He is an impartial judge who will honor the separation of powers and uphold the Constitution. For these reasons, Judge Gorsuch is exactly the kind of justice America needs.
Different Republican Nominee, Same Democratic Dance
If there’s one thing that has always united Democrats, it’s the chance to express outrage and concern over Republican-chosen Supreme Court nominees. Since at least 1987, when Senator Ted Kennedy slandered President Reagan’s highly qualified nominee and begat the verb “to bork,” the selectively principled men and women of the Left have pantomimed panic over every nominee who will apply laws as written. That approach, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi would have you believe, means they hate clean water, fresh air, happy people, and kittens. … The notion that Mr. Schumer and other Democrats are interested in preserving the judicial independence established in our Constitution is risible. … The Democrats' hypocrisy aside, there is the simple fact that criticism of judges is not something to fear. The Framers contemplated criticism of Federal judges and provided them with life tenure precisely to ensure that they could go wherever the law takes them without being unduly influenced by criticism or praise. … Moreover, anyone who expresses uncertainty about Judge Gorsuch’s independence has not read his opinions. In Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016), for example, the judge expressed concern that “executive bureaucracies . . . swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power and concentrate federal power in a way that [is] difficult to square with the Constitution of the framers’ design.” And, although his critics may be loath to admit it, Judge Gorsuch’s concurrence in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, which overturned an Obamacare regulation that closely held corporations must violate their religious beliefs, clearly demonstrates a willingness to fight executive overreach. The fact is that Democrats are feigning concern both to discredit President Trump for reasons having nothing to do with the Supreme Court nomination, as well as for the same reason they’ve fought conservative appointees for 30 years: they don’t like judges who, like Judge Gorsuch, apply the law as it is written. It is demeaning for Democrats to use Judge Gorsuch as a pawn for discrediting President Trump's policy positions as well as to scare people into thinking that Mr. Trump will be a lawless Executive. The phony and hypocritical invocation of principles that never mattered to them before is the real threat to judicial independence here.
A Principled and Courageous Choice
In choosing a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, the president could not have made a better choice than Judge Neil Gorsuch. We can say that with confidence because we have had the honor to serve as law clerks to both men. … Although no one can replace the Justice, we can think of no one more worthy of his seat than Judge Gorsuch. He is a brilliant thinker, a fair and independent judge and a clear and effective communicator of important ideas. For starters, Judge Gorsuch's qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court are beyond question. … And in his ten years on the bench, Judge Gorsuch has earned the respect of lawyers and judges of all stripes. Judge Gorsuch's opinions reflect the principle Justice Scalia spent his career defending: that in a democracy, the people's elected representatives, not judges, get to decide what laws we should have. In a lecture last year, Judge Gorsuch paid tribute to that "great project of Justice Scalia's career," reminding us of "the differences between judges and legislators" and of judges' duty "to apply the law as it is . . . not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best." Justice Scalia couldn't have said it better himself.
I'm a moderate for Gorsuch: Former law clerk
I am a moderate, like many Americans. I have more often than not voted for Democrats rather than Republicans, and I deeply believe our government has a necessary and active role in righting the many injustices present in our society and the world. But I can’t help wondering, are we asking the right questions about nominees to the Supreme Court? Shortly after I posted an article supportive of Judge Neil Gorsuch on Facebook, I received queries and demands asking about his opinion on “LGBTQ rights, abortion, science over religion, climate change, gun control,” among other pressing social issues. … Although I worked closely with Gorsuch for a year as one of his law clerks, and spent social hours with the judge, his family and other clerks, I also struggled to come up with an answer. And then I smiled because I realized the judge lives by the principle that “justice is blind.” He did not bring preconceived positions on social issues into the courtroom. Rather, he pushed us to thoroughly research all sides of each case that came through his chambers. … The judge’s commitment to being objective and deliberating on all issues before him is further demonstrated by the support he has received from his left-leaning colleagues who have worked with him. These respected liberal colleagues specifically note his commitment to understanding the diverse perspectives on an issue, and his collegiality.
Commentary: Crying wolf over Neil Gorsuch
I have known Neil Gorsuch for almost 25 years, although we are not close. Politically, I am a lifelong registered Democrat and have been for almost 50 years. … So far, the most substantive worry that has been raised about Gorsuch's record is that he is dubious about so-called Chevron deference, a 1984 Supreme Court instruction that tells courts to accept the interpretations of laws and rules that come from the various federal agencies in charge of carrying out those laws and writing those rules. The deference doctrine was born out of suspicion that courts might otherwise meddle with agencies' work and override the agencies' superior expertise. … And that leads to a final point that should be foremost in the minds of those considering this nomination. The greatest risk to individual freedom now is excessive executive power. And the question for judges is, who can stand up to it and who will simply ratify it? Judge Gorsuch's record is one of acute skepticism toward complacent exercises of executive power. He has demonstrated himself as someone committed to the rule of law. Cynics may scoff at the concept, but it is absolutely crucial to the integrity of the American constitutional system. In case after case, Gorsuch has asked, what is the law, how is it being applied and does it square with the constitutional basis of authority?
Gorsuch in the Mainstream
One political trope of modern judicial politics is to declare a conservative nominee “out of the mainstream.” The line is never applied to progressive nominees because to the media the mainstream is by definition progressive. Expect to hear more of this about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, albeit without evidence to back it up. According to an analysis by Jeff Harris at Kirkland & Ellis, Judge Gorsuch has written some 800 opinions since joining the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. Only 1.75% (14 opinions) drew dissents from his colleagues. That makes 98% of his opinions unanimous even on a circuit where seven of the 12 active judges were appointed by Democratic Presidents and five by Republicans. Add the senior judges, who hear fewer cases, and the circuit has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
Liberals should welcome Gorsuch
Gorsuch will make an exceptional Supreme Court justice. He possesses a rare combination of intelligence, humility and integrity, not to mention a fierce commitment to the rule of law. …
But Judge Gorsuch’s own response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s formal questionnaire does offer significant clues. …
I had the pleasure of serving year-long stints as a law clerk for both Gorsuch (at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit) and Kagan (at the Supreme Court). Putting the two of them in a room together would be a recipe for vigorous — though congenial — political disagreement. But despite these differences of politics, both my former bosses share a profound commitment to the rule of law. That commitment means that all litigants before them are treated evenhandedly, and that the cases they hear are judged only on the strength of the legal arguments, without regard to partisan politics. …
In times like these, liberals should welcome a nominee like Gorsuch — who is honest, principled and committed to safeguarding the rule of law.
What Gorsuch understands about unelected judges
This past November, record numbers of voters said that one factor dominated their Presidential vote: nominations to the Supreme Court. The reasons for this are not hidden. Judges matter. The American people understand that with a life appointment to the highest court in the land, a Supreme Court Justice can shape laws that directly affect our lives for a generation or more. ... In our experience, an excellent federal judge must possess two traits that are rare to find in the same individual: first, judicial modesty, meaning a temperament that does not seek to substitute the judge’s will over the legislatures’, but second, constitutional courage, meaning a willingness to hold our massive federal bureaucracy accountable to the Constitution and to the lawmaking authority of Congress. In light of that standard, we are thrilled with President’s Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Neil Gorsuch’s Personality Could Shift Supreme Court’s Dynamic
Scrutiny of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is focusing heavily on his judicial rulings and legal views, but there is another issue that will be almost as important should he reach the high court: how he fits in on a bench where personality and style can have a significant impact on decisions. If confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a man he admired and whose influence often came more from fiery dissents than consensus-building. … While Judge Gorsuch has some similarities to Justice Scalia, the new nominee is sure to bring a different dynamic. People who know Judge Gorsuch, who currently serves on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, say he is unfailingly respectful and, as his former law clerk Katherine Yarger put it, “extraordinarily careful with his word choice, tone and his approach when communicating with other judges.”
For Moderate Democrats, Judge Gorsuch Is as Good as It Gets
Moderates could do a lot worse than Judge Neil Gorsuch—and we probably will if he isn’t confirmed. Donald Trump is clearly determined to nominate a judicial conservative to the Supreme Court. Elections have consequences, as Barack Obama once chided congressional Republicans. ... But among judicial conservatives, Judge Gorsuch is as good as it possibly gets. I have known him personally for more than a decade, since he was an attorney in the Justice Department. He is a brilliant mind, but more important he is a kind, sensitive and caring human being. Judge Gorsuch tries very hard to get the law right. He is not an ideologue, not the kind to always rule in favor of businesses or against the government. Instead, he follows the law as best as he can wherever it might lead.
Give Neil Gorsuch an Up-Or-Down Vote
Judge Neil Gorsuch is an exceptional nominee for the Supreme Court. He’s recognized by people on both sides of the aisle as an accomplished, principled and fair jurist. When he was nominated to his current seat on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006, no one cast a single negative vote against his nomination: not then-Senators Obama, or Clinton, or Biden, or Kennedy — and not the current Democratic leader of the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer, either. Back then, Senator Schumer found Gorsuch so uncontroversial that he didn’t even ask for a roll-call vote. Now, Schumer says he has such “serious concerns” about Gorsuch that he’s threatening to filibuster his nomination and leave open the seat indefinitely. What changed?
Gorsuch nomination meets with positive reception
Americans' first impressions of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch tilt positive, and a plurality say the Senate ought to vote to confirm President Donald Trump's selection to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. Overall, 49% say the Senate should vote to confirm Gorsuch, who is a federal judge. That's roughly the same share that said so about Samuel Alito in 2005 and Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 shortly after their nominations were announced.
Ken Blackwell: Supreme Court nominee fits well in the mainstream
One out of five voters said the Supreme Court was "the single most important reason" for them to vote in the November elections, according to exit polls. They wanted a voice in the future direction of the high court. Trump has obliged by naming a fair and open-minded jurist whose opinions are often embraced, if not cited, by the Supreme Court.
Trump's Gorsuch Pick: Promises Made, Promises Kept
Well, that was quick. Once again proving himself to be no ordinary politician, President Trump took a New York minute to deliver on one of the most important promises of his presidential campaign. Make that promises, because Monday’s nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court fulfills a basket of Trump promises from the campaign trail.
It’s an excellent pick on its own terms. Judge Gorsuch has served on the Denver-based 10th Circuit since 2006. A graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law, and Oxford University — where he earned a doctorate in legal philosophy —Gorsuch is a first-rate scholar and thinker. Just as important, and unlike many so-called intellectuals, his writing is as clear as a Rocky Mountain stream. Those opposing his nomination — and there will be many, given the Democrats’ bellicose approach to Supreme Court nominations — will pick fights with him over law and philosophy at their peril.
Liberals Have No Case Against Gorsuch
Liberals have at their disposal three kinds of arguments against confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
They can say that the mainstream judicial conservatism that he undoubtedly represents is dangerously wrong. A lot of liberals probably believe this. But most people find that argument unreasonable, so few liberals make it.
They can say that Gorsuch should not be confirmed to keep Republicans from being rewarded for their refusal even to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the same seat on the Supreme Court. But voters didn’t much care about Garland’s plight last year, when his nomination was live, and are unlikely to care more about it now.
This leaves door number three:
Editorial: In Neil Gorsuch, Trump has selected a qualified and conservative jurist
“Is the nominee someone who will stand up for the rule of law and say no to a president or Congress that strays beyond the Constitution and laws?” asks Neal K. Katyal, a Georgetown law professor and acting solicitor general in the Obama administration. From first-hand experience, Katyal argues in a New York Times piece headlined, “Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch,” he’s convinced that the nominee “would help to restore confidence in the rule of law. His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence.”
Gorsuch’s record is conservative, and he argued against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in the Hobby Lobby case, writing of the Green family that owns the craft stores that, “As they understand it, ordering their companies to provide insurance coverage for drugs or devices whose use is inconsistent with their faith itself violates their faith, representing a degree of complicity their religion disallows. … The Greens’ religious convictions are contestable. Some may even find the Greens’ beliefs offensive. But no one disputes that they are sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Ignore the attacks on Neil Gorsuch. He’s an intellectual giant — and a good man.
Although there were notable exceptions, Donald Trump famously lost the conservative intelligentsia — and went on to do quite well electorally without us. But conservative scholars will, I predict, be virtually unanimous in their praise of the president’s choice of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. I know firsthand why: Gorsuch’s combination of outstanding intellectual and personal qualities places him in the top rank of American jurists. If confirmed, as I expect him easily to be, he will certainly be a good justice and has the potential to be a great one. Gorsuch and I have worked together on academic projects, most notably when I was the editor of the Princeton University Press book series for which he wrote “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” — an impressive, deeply scholarly book that was praised by bioethicists (including the liberal Daniel Callahan and the conservative John Keown) as well as academic lawyers — in 2006. The book critically engages the work of scholars (including myself) across a range of disciplines and representing a spectrum of viewpoints. Gorsuch went the extra mile in ensuring that his treatment of the work of other writers — especially those with whom he disagrees — was sympathetic and impeccably accurate. His sheer fair-mindedness was the thing I found most striking about working with him. When it comes to fitness for judicial office, the first criterion usually considered is intellect and education, and here Gorsuch is off the charts. Even people who do not share his political outlook or judicial philosophy, but have read his judicial opinions, recognize him as an intellectual superstar. Anyone who has heard him speak, and especially anyone who has spoken with him, probably has had that impression strongly reinforced. His opinions are marked by analytical depth and precision and remarkably lucid writing. In selecting Gorsuch, President Trump has without question fulfilled his pledge to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia — a conservative intellectual leader.
Conservative Groups Unify to Push Neil Gorsuch’s Confirmation
The Judicial Crisis Network started working on its campaign for Judge Gorsuch weeks ago, building on the organizational work it had done to block President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland for the Scalia seat. For Judge Gorsuch, as well as other possible nominees from Mr. Trump’s list they considered likely, they located videos of old speeches, pictures of him and his family and legal writings. They had even already purchased the URL for a promotional website, ConfirmGorsuch.com. The site went live Tuesday night at 8:05.
A Nominee Who Echoes Scalia’s Style
President Trump, in nominating Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, has chosen a judge who not only admires the justice he would replace but also in many ways resembles him. He shares Justice Scalia’s legal philosophy, talent for vivid writing and love of the outdoors. …
“Ours is the job of interpreting the Constitution,” he wrote in a concurrence last year. “And that document isn’t some inkblot on which litigants may project their hopes and dreams.” While he has not written extensively on several issues of importance to many conservatives, including gun control and gay rights, Judge Gorsuch has taken strong stands in favor of religious freedom, earning him admiration from the right. …
In Colorado, Judge Gorsuch is known for his involvement with the outdoors and the local legal community. He lives in unincorporated Boulder County, in a mountain-view community on a property with several horses. He has raised chickens and goats with his teenage daughters, Emma and Belinda, and his wife, Louise, an avid equestrian. He is a black diamond skier and fisherman and hosts regular picnics for his former law clerks with another 10th Circuit judge, Timothy M. Tymkovich.
But Judge Gorsuch seemed to take special pleasure in remembering the justice who had first hired him as a law clerk, a Westerner whose accomplishments were not limited to the law. “I began my legal career working for Byron White,” he said, “the last Coloradan to serve on the Supreme Court — and the only justice to lead the N.F.L. in rushing.”
Neil Gorsuch is a Supreme Court Pick
No one can replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, but President Trump has made an excellent attempt by nominating appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch as the ninth Justice. The polarized politics of the Court guarantees a confirmation fight, but based on his record the 49-year-old judge is a distinguished choice who will adhere to the original meaning of the Constitution.
A Jeffersonian for the Supreme Court
Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, is one of the most respected conservative legal intellectuals on the federal bench. Like Justice Antonin Scalia, he has the ability and the ambition to lead America’s constitutional debate by following a clear vision of textualism and originalism, based on the premise that judges should separate their political from their constitutional conclusions. But unlike the Hamiltonian Justice Scalia, the more Jeffersonian Gorsuch seems more willing to return to constitutional first principles and to question the constitutional underpinnings of the post-New Deal administrative state. At the same time, he clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy and seems more likely than any other nominee to persuade Kennedy to vote with the conservatives rather than the liberals as long as he remains on the Court. And his record suggests a willingness to transform the law and to enforce constitutional limitations on the excesses of Congress and the president. For all of these reasons, Gorsuch’s appointment gives conservatives reason to celebrate, and liberals reason to fear, that Trump couldn’t have made a more effective choice. There’s no doubt, however, that the principled Gorsuch would be willing to rule against Trump or a Republican Congress if he felt they exceeded their constitutional bounds—if Trump issued executive orders that clashed with the text of federal immigration laws, for example, or if Congress passed laws banning abortions that don’t involve crossing state lines that exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce. As Gorsuch said at the White House while accepting Trump’s nomination, “a judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge.” And because of Gorsuch’s appealing and collegial personality and temperament, he could certainly join with the liberal and conservative justices on the Roberts Court to form a united front against clear and present threats to the First Amendment or to the constitutional order. At a time when progressives are rediscovering the virtues of Madisonian checks on populist excesses and federal power, Gorsuch may be precisely the kind of bipartisan Jeffersonian justice the country needs.
Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch
I have no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help to restore confidence in the rule of law. His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence — a record that should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the president who appointed him.
Editorial: Trump pick is masterful
Donald Trump could hardly have done better in his most important decision since becoming president — the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. Neil Gorsuch is highly principled and deeply experienced, and is poised to become the intellectual leader of conservative jurisprudence. While Democrats are scrambling to paint Gorsuch, a judge with the 10th District Court of Appeals, as a threat to women, the poor and civil liberties, their objections read as if they were prepared in advance to be applied to anyone Trump nominated.
Gorsuch is right for Supreme Court
Gorsuch is the right judge to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia, who was a towering figure on the Supreme Court for three decades. Gorsuch espouses the judicial restraint and practices the same sort of jurisprudence as Scalia. He is rigorous in sticking to the text of legislation and of the Constitution, and avoiding the urge to act as a super-legislator.
Neil Gorsuch naturally equipped for his spot on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist
Legislators “may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the law as they think it should be in the future,” Gorsuch said. But “judges should do none of these things in a democratic society.”
Instead, they should use “text, structure and history” to understand what the law is, “not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”
Conservative Colorado judge emerges as a top contender to fill Scalia's Supreme Court seat
In Gorsuch, supporters see a jurist who has strong academic credentials, a gift for clear writing and a devotion to deciding cases based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the text of statutes, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Just as importantly, Gorsuch is seen as someone who might be more easily confirmed in the Senate. Unlike other appointees of President George W. Bush, Gorsuch won an easy Senate confirmation on a voice vote in 2006.