Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court is said to be the most Scalia-like judge President Donald Trump considered for the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, vacated when Antonin Scalia passed away in 2016.
Trump just announced, at 8:00 PM Eastern, that Gorsuch is his nominee.
Paul Mirengoff had a great write-up on Gorsuch here.
In his Powerline post, Mirengoff quotes from a piece Gorsuch published at National Review in 2005. I am encouraged by the view Gorsuch lays out, a view Mirengoff refers to as “judicial modesty”:
American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education.
This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary. In the legislative arena, especially when the country is closely divided, compromises tend to be the rule the day. But when judges rule this or that policy unconstitutional, there’s little room for compromise: One side must win, the other must lose.
The addiction to final rulings that Gorsuch refers to is a wrong view of the role of government in human life. Gorsuch contrasts the mode of the judiciary with the mode of the legislative branch — but I would contrast the mode of “final rulings” itself with the mode of “GOVERNMENTAL modesty.” Americans of all politics need to get over their addiction to government as a source of final rulings on everything under the sun.
That government is well and truly best which governs least. We don’t need final rulings on everything that occurs to us as disputable, desirable, or annoying. A free people, more than any other, should be passionate about limiting what their government is empowered to rule on. The people should make it their business to live successfully and in peace without an incessant stream of final rulings, from an armed state that in reality is nothing more than a bunch of other people — limited and biased — making mostly unnecessary decisions on their behalf.
Gorsuch correctly identifies American “liberals” (or progressives, about whom there is nothing liberal today) as the most addicted to final rulings. But almost all Americans are afflicted in this way to some extent. We have lost touch with our heritage of liberty-thinking, and become unable to imagine life without the walls of final rulings closing in on us.
It will be a very good step in the right direction to have a justice like Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. He seems to know how to look beyond the shibboleth of final rulings, and see the vast open spaces of liberty conceived by our wiser forebears. That is a tremendous start.