On January 31, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia who died last February. Gorsuch sits on the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Oregon Right to Life Executive Director Gayle Atteberry said, “We are thankful that President Trump followed through on his promise to nominate a Supreme Court candidate with a judicial record that demonstrates respect for laws that protect life. We hope his confirmation is the first step toward restoring legal protection to innocent unborn American children.”
Trump pointed to Gorsuch’s “outstanding legal skills, brilliant mind, and tremendous discipline” in making his announcement. Gorsuch graduated from Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and holds a doctorate from Oxford University. Nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2006, he was confirmed unanimously.
Pro-life scholars who know Gorsuch best describe him as a strong originalist, believing that the Constitution should only be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended, putting him squarely in the legal camp of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch calls the Constitution “the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever known.” He believes, “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives … A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” Gorsuch has criticized liberals for turning to the courts rather than the legislature to achieve policy goals.
Regarding life issues, Gorsuch has said, “All human beings are fundamentally and inherently valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor against the Obama administration’s requirement forcing them and others to pay for drugs that cause abortions, a violation of their religious liberty. He sided with the state of Utah in its attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. In his book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” he argues against both practices.
At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest nominee to the Supreme Court in 25 years, and, if confirmed, has the potential to influence decisions for decades. His confirmation would restore the balance of the Court prior to Scalia’s death, with four liberals, four conservatives, and one swing vote (Justice Anthony Kennedy).
Twenty-one percent of voters in November’s election said Supreme Court appointments were the “most important” factor in their vote. Of those, 56 percent voted for Trump and 41 percent for Hillary Clinton, a 15 percent advantage for Trump.
Senate Democrats, including Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely, promise a showdown over Gorsuch’s confirmation. Merkely said Democrats will “use every lever in our power to stop this,” including a filibuster to delay or prevent a vote. Atteberry says that ORTL “does not support Merkely’s threats to filibuster this excellent candidate simply because he is not in favor of abortion.”