In the West, Strong Support Seen for U.S. Supreme Court Nominee
Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated yesterday to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, is winning support from across the West and especially his home state of Colorado.
Gorsuch, who currently serves on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, was named last night to fill the seat on the court vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He is widely viewed as an originalist and a textualist, similar in judicial philosophy to Justice Scalia.
So far, he’s won praise from a diverse group of stakeholders, including legal experts at the University of Colorado (CU), a Democratic congressman from the Denver suburbs, and conservative senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).
“Honestly, I don’t see him as a controversial pick,” George Brauchler, district attorney for Colorado’s 18th Judicial District, told Western Wire. “For the West in particular, you want to have someone who feels like the federal government should be limited to those powers extended to it either through the Constitution or by Congress,” Brauchler, a Republican, said. “So I can’t imagine that’s a partisan issue.”
Brauchler predicted that some Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), will end up supporting Gorsuch’s nomination. While some senators may have philosophical differences with the nominee, the Senate’s role in the confirmation process “is really about is this person qualified and fit to serve on the Supreme Court, independent of the politics.”
“And I think that’s where Senator Bennet will be,” Brauchler said. “I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that would try to blow this up, especially with Justice-to-be Gorsuch coming from our state.”
In response to the Gorsuch announcement, Bennet’s office released a statement overnight: “Michael takes seriously the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. He intends to review Judge Gorsuch’s record carefully in the coming weeks.”
Bennet’s Colorado colleague, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R), offered a clear endorsement. Gorsuch is “one of our country’s brightest legal minds” and someone who “adds to the court’s Western perspective, with his understanding of uniquely Western issues like water and public lands issues,” Gardner said in a statement.
Some on the left agree with Brauchler’s analysis. Slate magazine, for example, says Gorsuch is “an extraordinarily difficult jurist for Democrats to oppose.” Gorsuch will likely win his confirmation vote because “[h]e conveys his ideas fluently and courteously and is well-liked by his colleagues on the left and the right,” Slate’s legal writer Mark Joseph Stern wrote in a column published overnight.
For example, CU Law School Dean James Anaya praised Gorsuch for his role as a visiting professor, teaching ethics and anti-trust law. “[O]ur students and alumni are fortunate that he has taught in our classrooms,” Anaya said in a statement. “He is an extremely accomplished example of our visiting faculty, who bring diverse perspectives to our school and model rigorous legal thinking for our students.”
While not directly involved in the Senate confirmation process, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) took to Facebook to praise the nominee. “While I have not had a chance to review Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record, I know Neil to be an honest and intelligent Coloradan,” Perlmutter said.
The nomination of Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court is “very positive” for the communities of the West, because the judge has fought the idea of “allowing unelected bureaucrats to interpret rules in such a way that they can accomplish whatever they want,” Brauchler said. “I think that’s exactly the kind of limited-government and constitutional-based thinking we need on the bench.”
Keeping the executive branch agencies of the federal government in check is especially important for the Western economy and job creators because “the feds play a bigger and more prominent role in a lot of our self-governance issues,” Brauchler said.
For this reason, a national pro-energy group – the American Energy Alliance (AEA) – welcomed the Gorsuch nomination.
“Throughout his career Judge Gorsuch has displayed great respect for the separation of powers and a firm adherence to the Constitution,” AEA President Thomas Pyle said in a statement.
“Judge Gorsuch’s belief that the Constitution should be interpreted as written is greatly needed after years of excessive regulation and increased power in the executive branch,” Pyle said.