Who is SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch?

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In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, photograph, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch makes a point while delivering prepared remarks before a group of attorneys at a luncheon in a legal firm in lower downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

WASHINGTON (AP) — If confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch would fill the seat of the man he seeks to emulate as a judge.

He would be the first justice to serve alongside a colleague for whom he worked. Gorsuch described his former boss, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Tuesday as one of the judges who brought him up in the law.

Here are some key facts about President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.


NAME: Neil Gorsuch

BIRTHDATE: August 29, 1967

BIRTHPLACE: Denver, Colorado

EDUCATION: B.A., Columbia University, 1988; J.D., Harvard Law School, 1991; D.Phil., University of Oxford, 2004

CURRENT JOB: 2006-present: Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (appointed by President George W. Bush)


2005-2006: Principal deputy, associate attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice.

1995-2005: Private law practice, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans and Figel, Washington, D.C.

1993-1994: Law clerk, Hon. Byron White and Hon. Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court.

1991-1992: Law clerk, Hon. David Sentelle, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.


Wife, Louise; two daughters, Emma and Belinda. Gorsuch’s mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was the first female head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald Reagan.


While at Columbia, Gorsuch co-founded a newspaper (The Federalist) and a magazine (The Morningside Review).


“The independence of the judiciary depends upon people in both parties being willing to serve, good people being willing to serve who are capable and willing to put aside their personal politics and preferences to decide cases and to follow the law and not try and make it.” — from his 2006 confirmation hearing for the Tenth Circuit.


Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has been on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006. Here are summaries of some of his notable opinions:

HOBBY LOBBY STORES v. SEBELIUS: Gorsuch voted with a majority of the 10th Circuit in favor of privately held for-profit secular corporations, and individuals who owned or controlled them, who raised religious objections to paying for contraception for women covered under their health plans.

Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion in which he explained the moral dilemma facing the family that owns Hobby Lobby. “As they understand it, ordering their companies to provide insurance coverage for drugs or devices whose use is inconsistent with their faith itself violates their faith, representing a degree of complicity their religion disallows… No doubt, the Greens’ religious convictions are contestable. Some may even find the Greens’ beliefs offensive. But no one disputes that they are sincerely held religious beliefs,” he wrote.

UNITED STATES v. GAMES-PEREZ: Gorsuch was on the losing end of a vote by the full 10th Circuit over whether to rehear the case of a man who was convicted of having a gun after having earlier been convicted of a serious crime. The issue was whether the defendant knew that his earlier conviction was for a crime that disqualified him from owning a gun.

Gorsuch argued in favor of a new hearing. “None of these arguments compels us to perpetuate the injustice of disregarding the plain terms of the law Congress wrote and denying defendants the day in court that law promises them.”

GUTIERREZ-BRIZUELA v. LYNCH: In this 2016 case, Gorsuch wrote for a panel of judges who sided with a Mexican citizen who was seeking permission to live in the U.S. The case gave Gorsuch an opportunity to raise an issue he has championed in his time as a judge: whether courts should so readily defer to federal agencies in determining what laws and regulations mean.

Referring to high-court cases that Gorsuch believes cede too much power to agencies, he wrote: “There’s an elephant in the room with us today. We have studiously attempted to work our way around it and even left it unremarked. But the fact is Chevron and Brand X permit executive bureaucracies to swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power and concentrate federal power in a way that seems more than a little difficult to square with the Constitution of the framers’ design. Maybe the time has come to face the behemoth.”

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