In 2006, Republicans and Democrats alike came together to unanimously
confirm a bright young lawyer named Neil Gorsuch as a federal appeals
court judge. Not a single member of the Senate objected to his
confirmation, because he had such a sterling record as smart and
fair-minded lawyer. Now he is being considered for the U.S. Supreme
Court, and I hope he once again receives the strong support of the
He is qualified and experienced. He served as a law clerk
for two different Supreme Court justices and, before both Republicans
and Democrats in the Senate unanimously confirmed him to serve as a
federal appeals judge, he worked in the private sector and in the office
of the Attorney General.
His record as a judge shows that he is a
fair, independent, and a consensus builder. He knows how to find common
ground. Ninety-seven percent of the cases he has decided were unanimous
with the other two judges on the panel. He has been in the minority of
the judges less than two percent of the time. Out of the more than 180
opinions he has written as a judge, only one has ever been appealed to
the Supreme Court, and even then, the Supreme Court affirmed his ruling.
Gorsuch is also respected by other lawyers and judges. One of former
President Obama’s lawyers, Neil Katyal, said Judge Gorsuch’s “record
should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise
principle to favor the president who appointed him…He’s a fair and
Judge Gorusch understands that his job is to be
fair—not to impose his views on people. As he put it in his testimony
before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his job is “not about politics…If
judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but
what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the
people and for the people would be at risk.“ I think he’s right. Judges
should not try to legislate from the bench.
Judge Gorsuch and I
met recently to talk about his philosophy of judging cases. I was
impressed with his approach. He assured me that he will uphold the law
as written—even if it goes against his personal beliefs.
are ultimately an expression of the will of the people. As the
Constitution itself says, “we the people…establish this Constitution.”
our Republic, Congress writes the laws; the President ensures that the
laws are executed faithfully, and the courts apply the law to specific
When judges try to change the law rather than apply the
law, they make themselves into an un-elected Congress. That’s not just
arrogant; it’s unfair—not because it steals legitimate authority from
Congress, but because it silences the voice of the people who elected
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Rulings by
the Supreme Court cannot be appealed to any higher court, and can only
be overturned by changing the law. In recent decades it has been
increasingly asked to decide important matters that affect us all:
health care, immigration, energy and environmental policies, First
Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of religion, Second
Amendment rights, and a thousand other issues. The Court affects all of
our lives more than ever.
Unfortunately, some judges have
essentially re-written laws to fit their beliefs. It’s not right, and
it’s one reason why so many people have felt like their voices just
aren’t being heard.
That’s why it’s so important that we have a
Supreme Court justice who will fairly and impartially apply the law and
protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution—not to legislate from
the bench. Judge Neil Gorsuch is that kind of judge, and I’m proud to
support his confirmation.