Newsweek

Why Neil Gorsuch Must Not Be Confirmed

Donald Trump announced his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court on January 31.
02_01_jurt_gorsuch_01 Source: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

This is a very hard column to write. I’m about to abandon everything I have believed for much of my life about the proper principles for federal governance. Unfortunately, too many of our political leaders did that long ago, which makes this conclusion inevitable: Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, must not be confirmed. Democrats must fight it to the bitter end. The preservation of the final, tattered remains of American constitutional government demands it.

This has nothing to do with Gorsuch as a nominee. On first assessment, there is no doubt he is eminently qualified, perhaps more so than several other sitting justices were at the time of their nomination. He has done it all. His legal education is first-rate, with a law degree from Harvard and a doctorate in jurisprudence from Oxford. He has seen up close how the Supreme Court works, serving as a clerk for Justice Byron White and then Justice Anthony Kennedy. For more than a decade, he has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, where he has gained a reputation as someone committed to the rule of law. He is a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.

There was a time in history when that would have been enough. And if someone with Gorsuch’s pedigree had been nominated by, say, George W. Bush because I agree with him on policy, which to me has usually been irrelevant in selecting a judge, since the high court is not supposed to be filled with the equivalent of lifetime senators. If he is qualified and has a philosophy of jurisprudence that is widely recognized as legitimate—which Gorsuch does—that would be enough.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek6 min read
Is Corporate Social Responsibility Really a Good Thing?
Specifically, CSR has become the weapon of choice for what is known as, in corporate speak, the three R's: Investor Relations, Human Resources, and Public Relations.
Newsweek4 min read
Gaming Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts for Gamers in 2019
The Holiday Season is right around the corner, and that means gamers are looking to scoop up the hottest releases of the year. Here are just a few of the best games of 2019.
Newsweek2 min read
Music Meccas Around The World You Need to Visit
Music lovers know they'll be able to hear jazz in New Orleans and reggae in Kingston, but here are some other surprising sounds worth taking note of across the globe.