Neil Gorsuch’s biography reveals a long and respected political career, as well as some political positions and judicial rulings that may give some Senate Democrats concerns about his nomination.
As you already know, Neil Gorsuch is Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Scalia’s seat on the Court has remained vacant since December 2016, when the conservative justice died in his sleep following a day of quail hunting. Then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, but Congressional Republicans refused to act on his nomination until after the election. A few days after his inauguration, Trump nominated Gorsuch to fill that spot.
Here are four quick things you need to know about Neil Gorsuch.
His Upbringing and Personal Life
Neil Gorsuch was born August 29, 1967, in Denver, Colorado, according to Biography. As a teenager, Neil moved with his family to Washington, where his mother served as the first female director of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Reagan administration.
After graduating high school, Gorsuch attended Columbia University, where he achieved academic honors, as well as wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper, and later, he co-founded an alternative Columbia student newspaper, The Fed.
After undergraduate school, Gorsuch went on to law school at Harvard, where he graduated cum laude in 1991. From there, he began working his way up the ranks in the legal profession, working in both private practice and within the government. He currently sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; a position for which he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.
Gorsuch is married to Louise, a British national he met at Oxford. He and Louise have two daughters, Emma and Belinda, who make their home in Boulder, Colorado.
About That Student Newspaper, The Fed
According to the December 1, 1999, issue of the newspaper, The Fed was begun in 1986 by “a libertarian, conservative, and a socialist, (although no one knows which was which).” The conservative being Gorsuch, the libertarian being co-founder Andy Levy, and the “socialist” being P.T. Waters.
Not unlike Harvard’s Lampoon, Columbia’s The Fed is largely about satire and humor, and since its founding, the publication has been unafraid to poke fun at delicate social issues.
“The paper’s original mission was to be ‘classically liberal’; that is, to be content neutral, to print any intelligent and well-written opinion, regardless of its political slant.”
Gorsuch Did Not Found a “Fascism Forever” Club In High School Or Anywhere Else
You may have heard the rumor that Gorsuch, as a teen, founded a “fascism forever” club at his Washington, D.C. high School, Georgetown Prep. However, as Snopes reports, that rumor got its start thanks to Gorsuch injecting a little cheek into his biography in his high school yearbook. The caption of Gorsuch’s senior photo is filled with several humorous “accomplishments” that he never achieved. It was a joke that, apparently, The Daily Mail thought was real, and which was later reported by newspapers across the world.
Gorsuch’s Judicial Career
Throughout his career in law, Gorsuch has made rulings and written opinions that seem to indicate that he’ll continue Scalia’s conservative legacy if given the chance.
- In an August 2016 ruling in an immigration case, according to Politico, Gorsuch wrote that the interpretation of ambiguous federal laws is a matter for the courts, not the agencies that wrote them, to interpret.
- Similarly, in a September 2016 decision, Gorsuch sided with a majority opinion that the Obama administration’s contraception mandate violated the concept of religious liberty.
- In legal articles and in a book he’s written, Gorsuch has questioned the legitimacy of assisted-suicide laws.
As of this writing, it is not clear when the Senate will begin Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.
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