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- Michael Kenneally, Matt Owen and Eric Tung, all former clerks to both Judge Neil Gorsuch and Justice Antonin Scalia, write at U.S. News and World Report that Judge Gorsuch is the perfect successor to Justice Scalia.
“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. For each of us, Justice Scalia was a hero. By the time we clerked for him, he had already left an indelible mark on the law. Through the force of his intellect and the power of his pen, Justice Scalia changed the way all lawyers and judges think and write about the law…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.”
- In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, self-described “longtime Democrat” and local attorney Jerry Walz says Judge Gorsuch would be “good for the judiciary and the country.”
“Albuquerque attorney Jerry Walz, who has appeared before Gorsuch a dozen or so times, mostly on civil rights cases, said the 49-year-old Colorado native isn’t an ‘ideologue.’ ‘Politics aside, Judge Gorsuch would be someone good for the judiciary and the country. People should rest assured that he would always try to make the most learned and just decision and politics would not be a consideration or factor in his decisions,’ Walz said. ‘And that’s from me, and I’m a longtime Democrat.’”
- Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times that after a review of Judge Gorsuch’s record, none of his opinions were overturned by the Supreme Court, placing him firmly in the mainstream of American jurisprudence.
“In more than a decade on a federal appeals court, Judge Neil Gorsuch never had one of his own written opinions overturned by the Supreme Court, according to the questionnaire he delivered to Capitol Hill over the weekend in preparation for an eventual confirmation hearing…Asked to summarize his most important cases, Judge Gorsuch singled out a couple of cases where he sided with defendants against federal power, including one in which he said the Bureau of Prisons wronged an American Indian inmate by denying him access to a sweat lodge, which was part of his religion. He also led off his list with a 2016 opinion he wrote criticizing judges’ willingness to cede their own powers to the growing scope of federal regulatory agencies. He said courts deferring to bureaucratic decisions may violate the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and could raise separation of powers concerns.”
- Jeff Donn and Geoff Mulvihill write for the Associated Press that Judge Gorsuch’s record shows he has defended freedom of speech and religious liberty.
“Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has been a defender of free speech and a skeptic of libel claims, an Associated Press review of his rulings shows…In a 2007 opinion involving free speech, Gorsuch ruled for a Kansas citizen who said he was bullied by Douglas County officials into dropping his tax complaints. ‘When public officials feel free to wield the powers of their office as weapons against those who question their decisions, they do damage not merely to the citizen in their sights but also to the First Amendment liberties,’ Gorsuch wrote…In two of the highest-profile religious freedom cases before his court, Gorsuch joined opinions that sided with Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor. They argued that it would violate their religious rights if they were forced to provide employees with coverage for contraceptives as required by President Obama’s health care law. The federal government now pays to insure workers for that coverage when employers object to doing so on religious grounds.”