On Tuesday evening, President Donald J. Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, as his choice to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by former Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Justice Scalia was an amazing justice whose respect for the Constitution drove every decision he made. Replacing him, or any justice, is no light matter, as the decisions made by the Supreme Court can alter the course of history. Is Judge Gorsuch fit for the task of defending our Constitution?
First, let’s look at the duty of the Supreme Court. The job of the courts is to apply the text of the Constitution to cases brought before them. The courts cannot invent law, as the Constitution says in Article I, Section I, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Judge Gorsuch said on this issue, “it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws.”
Also, Supreme Court justices have a duty to interpret the Constitution based on its original meaning. Our founders supported the concept of originalism, meaning that judges cannot twist the words of the Constitution to support their philosophy. As James Wilson, a Supreme Court Justice appointed by George Washington said, “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.” Judge Gorsuch agrees with our founders, writing in a tribute to Scalia, “Judges should strive to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward.”
Judge Gorsuch also stood for religious liberty in a high profile case. In Hobby Lobby Stores vs. Sebelius, he sided with religious liberty when Hobby Lobby was being targeted for not providing contraceptives for employees due to their Christian faith. Judge Gorsuch believes that only Congress can make laws, he supports the concept of originalism, and defends Christians from religious persecution. He is a fitting replacement for Justice Scalia.