We now know who Trump wants but who is Neil Gorsuch? The New York Times is calling him an “echo of Scalia” which is wonderful news for people who love their Second Amendment rights!
By Adam Liptak
President Trump campaigned as a Washington outsider. But his first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, has deep roots in the city and the establishment Mr. Trump often criticized.
Judge Gorsuch’s mother was a high-level official in the Reagan administration. He spent part of his childhood in Washington and practiced law here for a decade, at a prominent law firm and in the Justice Department.
And, like all of the current justices, Judge Gorsuch is a product of the Ivy League, having attended college at Columbia and law school at Harvard.
But there is no doubt about his conservative credentials. And if there is a justice whom he most resembles, it is the one whose seat he has been nominated to fill, Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Gorsuch, 49 — who was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver, by President George W. Bush — is an originalist, meaning he tries to interpret the Constitution consistently with the understanding of those who drafted and adopted it. This approach leads him to generally but not uniformly conservative results.
“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.”
Judge Gorsuch has not written extensively on several issues of importance to many conservatives, including gun control and gay rights. But he has taken strong stands in favor of religious freedom, earning him admiration from the right.
In two prominent cases, both of which reached the Supreme Court, he sided with employers who had religious objections to providing some forms of contraception coverage to their female workers.
He voted in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores, a family-owned company that objected to regulations under the Affordable Care Act requiring many employers to provide free contraception coverage. Similarly, he dissented from a decision not to rehear a ruling requiring the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns, to comply with an aspect of the regulations.
Like Justice Scalia, Judge Gorsuch takes a broad view of the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable government searches and seizures.
Judge Gorsuch was born and spent his early years in Colorado, and he returned there when he became a judge more than a decade ago. Michael W. McConnell, who served with Judge Gorsuch on the appeals court and is now a law professor at Stanford, said his former colleague’s Colorado background would add something distinctive to the Supreme Court.
“He’s a Westerner,” Professor McConnell said. “There are so many cases that have to do with the West, and I also think the cultural sensibilities of the West are different. He’s an outdoorsman, and the Supreme Court needs a little bit more geographical diversity.”
Judge Gorsuch has criticized liberals for turning to the courts rather than legislatures to achieve their policy goals, and has called for limiting the power of federal regulators.
Nan Aron, the president of the Alliance for Justice, a liberal group, said Judge Gorsuch’s stance on federal regulation was “extremely problematic” and “even more radical than Scalia.”
“Not requiring courts to defer to agency expertise when an act of Congress is ambiguous,” she said, “will make it much harder for federal agencies to effectively address a wide variety of critical matters, including labor rights, consumer and financial protections, and environmental law.”