Antonin Scalia’s death left a gaping hole in the U.S. Supreme Court. For decades Scalia was the public face of judicial originalism. His energetic, witty and clear style was evident both in oral arguments and legal opinions.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch has been picked by President Trump to fill that hole. Prolife people are pleased with the pick and believe Gorsuch will be an outstanding justice.
During the presidential campaign, President Trump took an unusual step and offered a list of judges he may consider for filling Scalia’s vacancy. Gorsuch was included on that well-received list, and the pick represents a promise fulfilled by President Trump.
Though nobody may ever compare to Scalia’s verve, many legal scholars have compared Gorsuch’s writing style to Scalia. Gorsuch himself spoke very fondly of Scalia and during his introductory press conference indicated he shared Scalia’s deep belief in originalism.
Originalism shouldn’t have to be thought of as a philosophy. It simply means a judge will read a law as it was written. The law means what it says. If a law is to change, it’s through our democratic process; voters and legislators decide laws, not judges. The opposite is to suggest that unelected judges, not the people, control the government according to their own personal biases.
The prolife movement understands the consequences of letting judges manufacture laws. Abortion is nowhere mentioned or even implied in the U.S. Constitution. Even many noted pro-abortion legal scholars find Roe v. Wade to be indefensible as a legal ruling. America never voted to make abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy, yet that is the law today. Voters have little choice.
Gorsuch has not ruled directly on an abortion case, but his writing and other rulings show that he understands that judges don’t manufacture laws. He’s ruled against the Obama Administration in attempts to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to purchase abortion-causing drugs.
Gorsuch is undeniably well-qualified. His circuit court nomination received unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate. He has degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. In his spare time he teaches anti-trust law and legal ethics at the University of Colorado.
It would be outrageous if a minority of U.S. Senators blocks Gorsuch’s nomination because he won’t manufacture laws they can’t get through the ballot box. Let Gorsuch have a fair hearing and the up-or-down vote he deserves.