by John Galt
January 31, 2017 20:04 ET
President Donald Trump fulfills another promise to his voters, especially on the Evangelical Christian side of the slate, by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to become the next Supreme Court Justice to fill the vacancy left by Justice Scalia. This is a solid pick for a man with an originalist bent, pro-2nd Amendment, and a man who has defined his career as a true believer in our Constitution and not the garbage that the liberal activists have brought to the Supreme Court.
His background and profile is quite impressive (from the SCOTUS Blog):
Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit was “taking a breather” in the middle of a ski run when he heard that Justice Antonin Scalia had died. In a speech last April, Gorsuch added that he was “not embarrassed to admit” he cried his way down the mountain. Nearly a year later, Gorsuch is being widely discussed as a possible replacement for Scalia, whom he called in that speech a “lion of the law.” President Donald Trump included Gorsuch’s name on a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court, and Trump has also reportedly met with the judge.
If Trump does nominate Gorsuch, the judge’s 49 years would make him – despite his gray hair – among the youngest of recent Supreme Court nominees (Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when nominated, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan were both 50.). In the early 1980s, when Scalia was beginning his judicial career, Gorsuch was just beginning to assemble the glittering résumé that may have him at the cusp of an appointment to the court. President Ronald Reagan’s choice of Gorsuch’s mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, to head the Environmental Protection Agency in 1981 brought the Denver teenager to Washington, where he attended Bethesda’s Georgetown Preparatory School and won a national debate championship. Gorsuch completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, where he co-founded a student newspaper that gave voice to conservative viewpoints, and his law degree at Harvard Law School, which he attended on a Truman Scholarship.
Gorsuch began his legal career in the early 1990s with a series of prestigious clerkships – for Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and on the U.S. Supreme Court for retired Justice Byron White, who shared him with Justice Anthony Kennedy. If nominated and confirmed, Gorsuch would be the first former law clerk to serve on the bench alongside his or her old boss. The Washington law firm Kellogg Huber recruited Gorsuch during his Supreme Court clerkship, but he deferred his start in private practice to attend Oxford University, on a Marshall Scholarship, where he received a doctorate after studying legal and moral issues surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia under the Australian legal philosopher John Finnis.
Gorsuch has continued to investigate assisted suicide and euthanasia in a book (“The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia”) and multiple articles in scholarly journals. As he wrote in the Wisconsin Law Review, Gorsuch believes that “any State’s decision to legalize assisted suicide would likely bring with it both benefits and some attendant costs, and, accordingly, the legalization question presents a difficult moral and legal choice.” A utilitarian approach to this choice “will not—and, more fundamentally, cannot—resolve the debate” because “any effort aimed at comparing the benefits and costs of assisted suicide rests on a conceptually flawed premise—namely that there exists a single scale or currency which we can use to measure fundamentally incommensurate goods.” In his book, Gorsuch elaborates on these ideas, proposing as a guiding principle the intrinsic value of human life and arguing that “to act intentionally against life is to suggest that its value rests only on its transient instrumental usefulness for other ends.” He suggests a standard that would leave room for patient autonomy while not allowing intentional killing.
As if that excerpt was not impressive enough, this one paragraph should tell my readers that this is a man with actual judicial integrity:
Legal ethics and judicial standards seem to be of particular interest to Gorsuch, and, judging by his comments in his speech about Scalia, he takes seriously the fact that judges swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Gorsuch has also modeled judicial conduct off the bench. For instance, when he gave the 2013 keynote address at the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention in Washington, Gorsuch did not follow the pattern of past speakers (including sitting judges) by giving a “rabble-rousing speech” in the hopes of advancing their visibility and careers, according to one Federalist Society member. Instead, Gorsuch spoke more dryly about “law’s irony,” which both constrains and guarantees our freedom. When asked about the choice of topics by Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation, Gorsuch said he felt constrained by the code of judicial conduct not to discuss anything controversial.
Congratulations Judge Gorsuch and thank you again for showing some serious deliberation and integrity in this selection President Trump.