by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Charles Fain Lehman of the Washington Free Beacon assesses the one-year anniversary of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s service on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gorsuch was characterized at the time as a conservative, an originalist as to constitutional interpretation, and a textualist as to statutory interpretation. He followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, and in the mold of other judges backed by prominent conservative judicial organizations like the Federalist Society.
Since his confirmation—a 54-45 vote that ushered in the end of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations—Gorsuch has lived up to this reputation. …
… Gorsuch’s commitment to reading the law as written is a key feature of his tenure thus far, according to Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network and a former Supreme Court Clerk.
“That’s a theme that we have seen carried out through his whole first term, that he is exactly as he presented himself during his confirmation hearings, the kind of judge who is firmly committed to our constitutional structure. The legislature makes the laws, and the judges simply interpret them,” Severino told the Free Beacon.
Gorsuch’s one-year anniversary comes before the summer term, when the majority of the Supreme Court decisions for his first year on the bench are likely to come down. As such, he has written just a few opinions. His first, in June, pertained to a minor point of interpretation of federal law governing the collection of debt. That opinion was joined by a unanimous court, signaling its relatively uncontroversial nature.
Still, Gorsuch’s presence in the court room, and his votes on decided cases, are not without impact, coming as they do from the nation’s highest court.
“Even though he hasn’t had a chance to write any major opinions, whether majority, concurrence, or dissent, I think it’s pretty safe to say that he’s turning out exactly as observers hoped or feared,” Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, told the Free Beacon.