Pro-life and pro-family leaders are hailing the nomination by President Donald Trump of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch has served for the last ten years as a federal appellate court judge on the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
In making the appointment, President Trump described Gorsuch as “a brilliant jurist with an outstanding intellect…who is universally respected for his integrity, fairness, and decency. He understands the role of judges is to interpret the law, not impose their policy preferences, priorities, or ideologies.”
Should he be confirmed by the U. S. Senate, Gorsuch would fill the seat previously held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch was a personal friend of Scalia’s, whom he has described as “a lion of the law.” Like Scalia, the judicial philosophy of Gorsuch is that of an originalist, who believes that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the meaning intended by its authors.
“The great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators. Judges should strive to apply the law as it is…looking to text, structure, and history…not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best,” Gorsuch declared in a tribute following Scalia’s death early last year.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, praised President Trump for appointing a new justice for the High Court who has a record of judicial restraint and respect for the rule of law. “The replacement of the late Justice Scalia with someone of the same mold will help restore religious liberty and put an end to the enthusiasm of radical activists for using the federal courts to advance a social agenda not found in the Constitution.”
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, also praised the selection of Judge Gorsuch. “As a family ministry concerned with the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious freedom, we are optimistic that Judge Gorsuch will continue to respect our cherished liberties…It is our hope that he will follow in the late Justice Scalia’s footsteps in boldly standing up to the whims of culture and have ‘the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.'”
The judicial temperament of Judge Gorsuch may be best expressed in an opinion piece he wrote in 2005 for National Review where he said: “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers, rather than elected officials 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. This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary.”
Judge Gorsuch has written opinions on the Tenth Circuit Appeals Court that are of great encouragement to the pro-life and religious freedom movements. He joined a decision by the Tenth Circuit upholding the right of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain to be exempt from the abortion drug mandate imposed by the Obama Administration.
“All of us face the problem of complicity,” Judge Gorsuch wrote. “All of us must answer for ourselves whether and to what degree we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others. The [Obamacare] mandate requires the Green family to violate their religious faith by forcing them to lend an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong. No one before us disputes that the mandate compels Hobby Lobby to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized egg.”
Judge Gorsuch also sided with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their legal claim that they should not be forced to pay for contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in their own health care plan. In a dissenting opinion, Gorsuch wrote: “When a law demands that a person do something the person considers sinful, and the penalty for refusal is a large financial penalty, then the law imposes a substantial burden on that person’s free exercise of religion. The law doesn’t just apply to popular religious beliefs–it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs.”
The clearest glimpse into Judge Gorsuch’s views on the sanctity of human life may be found in a book he wrote in 2006 called The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In one excerpt, he wrote: “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong…Once we open the door to excusing or justifying the intentional taking of human life as ‘necessary,’ we introduce the real possibility that the lives of some persons may be deemed less ‘valuable,” and receive less protection from the law than others.”
Neil Gorsuch is an Episcopalian, and would join a tribunal that is currently completely composed of self-professed Catholics or Jews. He earned his law degree at Harvard Law School, but also obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University. Gorsuch has significant familiarity with the practices and personalities at the Supreme Court, having served as a clerk to both Justice Anthony Kennedy and former Justice Byron White.
The confirmation of Judge Gorsuch would not substantially alter the political balance on the Supreme Court. He would replace Justice Scalia as a fourth conservative justice along with four liberal justices, and a swing vote in Justice Anthony Kennedy, who adopts both conservative and liberal positions depending on the issue.
We strongly encourage you to contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the High Court.