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January 31, 2017

Prez Trump notes Judge Gorsuch's law school work on behalf of prisoners and defendants during SCOTUS nomination

President Trump lived up to his promise to appoint a judge from his not-so-short lists, and tonight the pick he announced was Tenth Circuit judge Neil Gorsuch. Though I would like to see some more diversity on the High Court, I can never be too disappointed when another graduate from my law school alma mater gets tapped to be a Justice. And, I found really interesting that Prez Trump noted this bit of Judge Gorsuch's history while in law school (with my links added):

While in law school, he demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate. He worked in both Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Projects and Harvard Defenders Program.

This law school history is certainly not evidence that Judge Gorsuch would be likely to vote one way or the other in criminal cases, but I still think it quite notable that the judge has this history and than Prez Trump would stress this history.

In the days ahead, I hope to identify any interesting and notable criminal justice opinions of Judge Gorsuch from his time on the Tenth Circuit over the last decade.

January 31, 2017 at 08:45 PM | Permalink


I've skimmed some of his opinions and I generally like him, legally speaking, in fact legally speaking I probably feel better about him than Garland.

Politically, however, the Dems /must/ filibuster him until he goes away. They can't let McConnell and crew get away with stealing the nomination. If that forces the Reps to go nuclear--so be it. Better to get that out of the way now than later.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 31, 2017 9:07:33 PM

"legally speaking I probably feel better about him than Garland"

Since Garland was a Breyer-like vote on a range of issues, while the Federalist Society et. al. are loving some of this guy, I probably feel better for Garland myself.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 31, 2017 9:42:42 PM

As a defense attorney, I think he's better for my professional interests than Garland would be. There's a lot to dive through before certainty, but when viewed from the baseline of Justice Scalia, this pick may not be bad.

Posted by: Erik M | Jan 31, 2017 9:53:27 PM

It's likely that if you ignore the range of issues SCOTUS rules upon & focus merely on criminal issues that this blog tends to care about, he looks a lot better.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 31, 2017 10:23:40 PM

There is nothing to review. Harvard Law School, that means, big government asshole. There is something deeply wrong with that school, and it should be closed, even by force. Confirmed without controversy for his appellate court position. That means he is a good lawyer rent seeker, confirmed by the same in the Senate. Never held a regular job, that means he has no idea about nor compassion for anyone who has.

This choice is a failure of imagination by Trump. He should have appointed a devout Muslim, and open adherent to Sharia law.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 31, 2017 10:48:43 PM

I urge the Democratic Party Senators to block this nomination to the utmost.

He is not qualified to serve on the Court, as a Harvard Law asshole.

They owe one to the Republicans, after the way they Garlanded Garland, to deter.

An even number of Justices should be made permanent by a Judiciary Act. An even number ends 5-4 decisions, and limits activist decisions. A 4-4 decision allows the lower court decision to stand, but not to become national policy, outside the lower court jurisdiction. Often, the lower court is complying with a prior Supreme Court decision in vertical stare decisis.

With an evenly split court, as we have today, super-precedent is supported. The less change this Court can impose, the better off is the nation. The Justices are clueless and ridiculous buffoons, but all are big government little tyrants. We know the direction of all changes these buffoons will make, based on their "feelings," and nothing else.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 31, 2017 11:05:46 PM

Enjoy yourself, DAB.

Posted by: Ted | Feb 1, 2017 8:54:37 AM

Oh, yay, Doug, for your school...Who cares what carnage your fellow alum plans to do to your daughters' reproductive freedoms.. or their ability to marry a woman if that's who they are. You can't be too disappointed so long as you get to suck up to him as a fellow white guy from whatever school you graduated from, that hankering for "more diversity" can always wait. YAY!

Posted by: gross | Feb 2, 2017 4:16:28 PM

Daniel, the judicial wars were started by Democrats, escalated by Democrats and are completely their fault.

After Carter lost the election, he got judges. Then the 'rats started blocking Reagan judges and we saw what happened to Bork. They stiffed Bush 41, and the GOP retaliated against Clinton, who served up some truly awful judges (e.g., Paez and Frederica Massiah-Jackson). Bush 43 offered an olive branch. Obama tried to filibuster.

And now you try to blame the GOP? Wow.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 3, 2017 9:57:27 AM

For the record, gross, I care a lot about a lot of SCOTUS jurisprudence for a lot of reasons. But this blog is a place to discussion sentencing law and policy and some broader criminal justice issues, ergo my focus on Judge Gorsuch's law school history. That said, I am disappointed Prez Trump did not pick a more diverse candidate, though arguably Judge Gorsuch's mountain west background makes him slightly more diverse that was Prez Obama's last (failed) pick.

And, in case you have not previously noticed, I really try to suck up to everyone no matter what their race, gender or school history --- in other words, I really try to be nice and civil and complimentary to everyone.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 3, 2017 11:54:46 AM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB