President Trump capped off a whirlwind week of cabinet appointments with a Supreme Court nominee whose approval will probably cast a shadow far into the future. First with a list of 21 likely nominees during the election narrowed down to two a few days ago, Neil Gorsuch is slated to replace the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.
At 49 years of age and with stellar conservative judicial credentials, the appointment of Gorsuch may well bring the same kind of course correction to the court Scalia brought under Ronald Reagan and the years since.
Though a justice should be considered solely on his judicial merits, Democrats hardly waited for the announcement to be made before they were promising a full fledged fight to deny Gorsuch a place on the court. However, there are a number of reasons, Democrats will find it virtually impossible to prevent Neil Gorsuch from being confirmed.
Gorsuch’s mother was director of the EPA under Reagan and his credentials as a lifelong Republican and brilliant and unbiased judge are almost beyond reproach.
Mark K. Matthews of the Denver Post writes of the 10th Circuit Court judge, “His resume sparkles with top-caliber schools (Columbia, Harvard and Oxford). His work background includes time as a partner with the Washington law firm Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel, a stint with the U.S. Department of Justice and clerkships with Supreme Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.”
“He has grabbed every brass ring,” said David Lat, managing editor of the legal website Above the Law. “He’s brilliant, conservative and impossible to oppose. That’s a deadly combination for Democrats.”
Regardless of which side you are from, Judge Gorsuch is vocal about how he views over-litigation. In a 2005 National Review op-ed, he bemoaned the Left’s obsession with what Justice Scalia called “social transformation without representation”
In a similar vein, the same article spoke to the illegitimate use of the courts to litigate. While never specifically stating his support or opposition to same-sex marriage, he did point out that liberals used the courts far too often to further their agenda of gay marriage rather than the electoral system.
“Rather than use the judiciary for extraordinary cases,” wrote Gorsuch, “von Drehle recognizes that American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education.”
Gorsuch has consistently ruled in favor of religious rights. His Hobby Lobby decision, allowing religious employers to avoid paying for contraceptives was later confirmed by the Supreme Court.
In a case that involved a Native American prisoner the judge stated that Congress has made it clear judges “lack any license to decide the relative value of a particular exercise to a religion.”
One thing that may even rankle some Republican lawmakers is that, like President Trump, he is a strong supporter of term limits. In a paper he wrote after finishing Harvard’s law school he argued:
“Recognizing that men are not angels, the Framers of the Constitution put in place a number of institutional checks designed to prevent abuse of the enormous powers they had vested in the legislative branch. Bicameralism, frequent elections, staggered terms, differing qualifications, shared and exclusive powers, and state control over election procedures are all examples of the mechanisms the Framers crafted with the hope of ensuring a responsive yet responsible legislature. A term limit, we suggest, is simply an analogous procedure designed to advance much the same substantive end.”
Gorsuch meets conservative standards as an originalist and a textualist — someone who interprets the Constitution and statutes as they were originally written. His family has ties to the Republican party locally and in Washington, and at the age of 49, he could sit on the high court for decades — a fact some who voted for the President with any reluctance are sure to find encouraging.
While, even CNN and the Huffington Post can find no fault in the President’s appointment, it is obvious that Democrats intend to be obstructionist every way possible. However, with ten Democrat senators facing re-election two years from now in states that voted for Trump, they are likely to think better before they ultimately try to stand in the way with an appointee with the record of Neil Gorsuch.
~ Conservative Zone