Donald Trump has nominated 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His academic resume alone is very impressive:
He completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia University in New York, got his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and then earned his doctorate from Oxford after studying under the titanic legal philosopher and natural lawyer John Finnis.
2. There would also be another interesting first:
After clerking under Justice Byron White, Gorsuch clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy. If confirmed, it would be the first time a Supreme Court justice sat on the same bench as a jurist for whom he’d previously clerked.
3. He knows the struggles of being a conservative on a liberal college campus:
4. He’s no fan of over-litigation:
Frivolous lawsuit-mongers — leftist and otherwise — may want to take heed to Gorsuch’s 2005 op-ed in National Review, where he calls out the Left’s obsession with what Justice Scalia called “social transformation without representation”:
5. He’s pro-term limits (or at least was during the Bush 41 administration):
According to a 1992 paper he co-authored shortly after finishing law school at Harvard:
Gorsuch and Guzman argue that this has been upended by the party system, legislative seniority, committee assignments and things of that ilk, thus precipitating term limits.
6. He’s literally written a book on life issues:
After studying the issue at Oxford, Gorsuch penned a book about the moral and legal arguments surrounding the end-of-life debate, entitled “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” Published by Princeton University Press, the work is cited extensively in Ryan Anderson’s Heritage Foundation paper on physician-assisted suicide from 2015.
7. He’s also a rock star on federal regulations administrative law:
One area where Neil Gorsuch appears to be more of an originalist than Justice Scalia is on the question of giving federal agencies the ability to interpret statutes themselves and make de-facto regulations. The so-called Chevron Deference is one area where Gorsuch has made substantial waves as an appellate judge with a dynamite opinion back in August:
“For administrative law nerds, U.S. Tenth Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch’s” Chevron opinion “is about as thrilling as it gets,” reads a press release from the Pacific Legal Foundation.
8. He’s no fan of over-criminalization:
In a 2013 lecture at the Federalist Society, Gorsuch tackled head on the problem of having far too many laws on the books:
“What about our criminal justice system, you might ask. It surely bears its share of ironies too. Consider this one. Without question, the discipline of writing the law down—of codifying it—advances the law’s interest in fair notice. But today we have about 5,000 federal criminal statutes on the books, most of them added in the last few decades, and the spigot keeps pouring, with literally hundreds of new statutory crimes inked every single year."
“Neither does that begin to count the thousands of additional regulatory crimes buried in the federal register. There are so many crimes cowled in the numbing fine print of those pages that scholars have given up counting and are now debating their number."
“When he led the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden worried that we have assumed a tendency to federalize, ‘Everything that walks, talks, and moves.’ Maybe we should say ‘hoots’ too, because it’s now a federal crime to misuse the likeness of Woodsy the Owl. (As were his immortal words: ‘Give a hoot, don’t pollute!’) Businessmen who import lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes can be brought up on charges. Mattress sellers who remove that little tag? Yes, they’re probably federal criminals too."
9. He pulls no punches on due process rights:
Another notable area of Neil Gorsuch’s jurisprudence revolves around the Fourth Amendment and his decisions on issues surrounding search and seizure — especially as they relate to technology and cyber security. “New technologies bring with them not only new opportunities for law enforcement to catch criminals,” he wrote in an opinion in U.S. v. Denson, “but also new risks for abuse and new ways to invade constitutional rights.”
In another case, which focused on police entering a property without consent, Gorsuch ruled that the home owner had “unambiguously” revoked the government’s ability to enter his home unwarranted when he posted a no-trespassing sign on his property.
10. He won’t be that easy to confirm:
With a resume this impressive, Senate Democrats are going to put up one hell of a fight to get someone more “mainstream,” as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. (F, 2%) has demanded. Republicans will either have to get rid of the filibuster for judicial nominations or invoke the two-speech rule to get Gorsuch onto the bench.
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Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.