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CRS – Judge Neil M. Gorsuch: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court

Via FAS – Judge Neil M. Gorsuch: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court. Andrew Nolan, Coordinator, Acting Section Research Manager; Caitlain Devereaux Lewis, Coordinator, Legislative Attorney; Kate M. Manuel, Coordinator, Acting Section Research Manager; Jared P. Cole, Legislative Attorney; Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney; Brandon J. Murrill, Legislative Attorney. March 8, 2017.
“On January 31, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Tenth Circuit) to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Tenth Circuit’s territorial jurisdiction covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Yellowstone National Park that extend into Idaho and Montana. Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, the nominee served as the Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice, assisting the Associate Attorney General with oversight of the Department’s various civil litigation components. Before serving in the Justice Department, the nominee worked in private practice as a civil litigator at the Washington, D.C. firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Judge Gorsuch began his legal career clerking for federal judges. He first served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit. Later, he served two Supreme Court Justices, newly retired Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy, during the October 1993 term. This report provides an overview of Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence and discusses how the Supreme Court might be affected if he were to succeed Justice Scalia. In particular, the report focuses on those areas of law where Justice Scalia can be seen to have influenced the High Court’s approach to particular issues or provided a fifth and deciding vote on the Court, with a view toward how the nominee might approach those same issues. The report begins by discussing the nominee’s views on two cross-cutting issues—the role of the judiciary and statutory interpretation. It then addresses fourteen separate areas of law, arranged in alphabetical order, from “administrative law” to “takings.” The report includes a table that notes the cases where the Supreme Court has reviewed majority opinions written or joined by Judge Gorsuch. Another set of tables in this report analyzes the nominee’s concurrences and dissents and those of his colleagues on the Tenth Circuit.”

  • The New York Times – In Gorsuch, Conservative Activist Sees Test Case for Reshaping the Judiciary, “Most Americans have probably never heard of Leonard A. Leo, who has long served as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservatives and libertarians who ‘place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values and the rule of law.’ But as Mr. Trump begins the process of filling what could be the most federal court vacancies left to any president in nearly a half-century, Mr. Leo is playing a critical role in reshaping the judiciary. He sits at the nexus of an immensely influential but largely unseen network of conservative organizations, donors and lawyers who all share a common goal: Fill the federal courts with scores of judges who are committed to the narrow interpretation of the Constitution that they believe the founders intended.”

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