Many outlets are reporting that Neil Gorsuch will be nominated as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. So, who is he?
Gorsuch currently serves on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado. He was appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as the Founding Fathers would have interpreted it, and of textualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted literally, without considering the legislative history and underlying purpose of the law.
According to his Wikipedia page, he graduated from the Georgetown Preparatory School in 1985. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1988. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1991, where he received a Truman Scholarship. He received a Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University College at Oxford University in 2004, where he received a Marshall Scholarship.
Gorsuch is a favorite of legal conservatives because he has sharply questioned a three-decade old legal precedent that many on the right believe has given too much power to the regulatory state. The landmark 1984 Supreme Court ruling involving the Chevron oil company held that courts should defer to federal agencies’ reasonable interpretations of ambiguous federal laws.
In a ruling last August in an immigration case, Gorsuch questioned the wisdom of that doctrine, arguing that the meaning of the law is for judges to decide, not federal bureaucrats.
Also from Wikipedia:
Gorsuch advocates a broad definition of religious freedom and sided with Christian employers and religious organizations in the cases of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, later consolidated into Zubik v. Burwell. In the Hobby Lobby case, Gorsuch held that the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that employers provide insurance coverage for contraceptives without a co-pay violated the rights of those employers that object to use of contraceptives on religious grounds. He wrote: "The ACA's mandate requires them to violate their religious faith by forcing them to lend an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong."
In his dissent of the 2007 case Summum v. Pleasant Grove City, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court, Gorsuch took the view that displaying a religious monument, such as the Ten Commandments, did not obligate a governmental authority to display other offered monuments, such as those from other religions.
Conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson writes:
Judge Gorsuch is the one nominee who matches Antonin Scalia’s intellectual pedigree and will unite all the factions within the Republican Party. This is a very wise move by President Trump. Even his most ardent critics on the right will have to commend President Trump for this nomination.
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