Justice Gorsuch Reassures That "Textualism and Originalism" Aren't Going Anywhere

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch meets with Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It is well known that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was friends with the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. Professionally, Gorsuch follows in Scalia’s footsteps as the latest justice to be confirmed, and thus occupying the seat left vacant, and as a textualist and originalist like Scalia was during his tenure.


At the Federalist Society dinner held in D.C. this week, Gorsuch confirmed that his own strict adherence to these interpretations will remain alive and well while he is on the high court.

The Washington Examiner reports, emphasis mine:

“Tonight I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Gorsuch said. “Originalism has regained its place at the table … textualism has triumphed … and neither one is going anywhere on my watch.”

The newest justice also addressed criticism that he is too vocal during oral arguments at the Supreme Court by taking a poll of the audience’s view of his performance. After receiving applause in response to whether the crowd thought he should keep asking questions, Gorsuch said, “Maybe these questions are pretty popular after all.”

Of course, liberal court-watchers and organizations have many problems with Justice Gorsuch, one of which is his supposed “stealing” of the SCOTUS seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s. As if these seats belong to anyone in the first place.

The liberal Alliance for Justice, which opposed Gorsuch’s nomination to the high court, criticized the newest justice’s decision to speak to the Federalist Society.

“Tonight’s speech is just the latest stop on Neil Gorsuch’s thank-you tour to honor the people who got him what should have been Merrick Garland’s job,” said Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice president.

…this behavior is unbecoming for a Supreme Court justice, cheapens the court, and undermines the trust of the American people in the court’s fairness and impartiality.”


Let me know how your call for impartiality squares with your claim that poor Garland had the SCOTUS seat stolen right out from under him, Ms. Aron.

To be sure, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court has been a highlight of Donald Trump’s presidency. However, one could argue that claiming “but Gorsuch!” as a reason for defending Trump’s words, actions, and thin list of accomplishments won’t be enough. Gorsuch occupies the seat that Scalia once did, so essentially, the “balance of power” (for lack of a better term for an impartial body) remains the same as before.

This appointment was important. The next appointment will be even more crucial.

While I and many others have been critical of those who seemingly hang their hat on the Gorsuch confirmation and placement, we also must give credit where it is due. President Trump made the correct choice.

Justice Gorsuch’s statements in his speech this week confirm just that.


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