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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.