The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings next week on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. When Senators vote on his nomination one leading pro-life organization wants them to vote yes.
“Judge Neil Gorsuch’s judicial opinions and legal writings are marked by scholarship, clear writing, and a scrupulous weighing of the legal precedent and factual evidence,” said Americans United for Life president Clarke Forsythe, “He is committed to interpreting the Constitution as written and not legislating from the bench, a dangerous practice that leads to tragic decisions like Roe v. Wade.”
Americans United for Life’s legal team delivered a letter to members of the U.S. Senate this week from Forsythe in support of the nomination Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Judge Gorsuch’s judicial temperament makes him the right choice to replace the revered Justice Antonin Scalia,” said Forsythe, who noted in his letter that “Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated a commitment to constitutional originalism, the separation of governmental powers, and principles of judicial restraint.”
Forsythe observed: “When Roe v. Wade was arbitrarily decided by the Supreme Court, without medical evidence or a trial court record of thorough debate, abortion on demand was created out of thin air, based on judicial preferences. It was a sweeping act of judicial overreach and a premier example of what legislating from the bench looks like. A judiciary committed to interpreting – not creating law – is key for respecting the voice of the people through their elected officials.”
Forsythe further emphasized statements made during Judge Gorsuch’s 2006 Senate confirmation hearing where he affirmed,” “Judges must allow the elected branches of government to flourish and citizens, through their elected representatives, to make laws appropriate to the facts and circumstances of the day. Judges must avoid the temptation to usurp the roles of the legislative and executive branches and must appreciate the advantages these democratic institutions have in crafting and adapting social policy as well as their special authority derived from the consent and mandate of the people, to do so.”
Judge Gorsuch was confirmed unanimously to the Tenth Circuit.
In the Senate letter, Forsythe also discusses a number of Judge Gorsuch’s decisions, including his rationale for protecting First Amendment conscience rights in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius (later Burwell v. Hobby Lobby before the U.S. Supreme Court).
President Donald Trump nominated the federal appeals Court Judge with strong support from pro-life organizations that point to his track record as supporting religious freedom for pro-life organizations refusing to be forced to pay for abortions. They also noted his opposition to assisted suicide and his support for a state fighting to defund Planned Parenthood abortion business.
The abortion giant slammed Gorsuch for supporting Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor in their bids to not be forced to pay for abortion-causing drugs in their employee health care plans.
“Gorsuch has also worked to undermine access to essential health care — ruling that bosses should be able to deny women birth control coverage. His record shows a disturbing willingness to let ideology overrule his constitutional duty to uphold and respect clearly established precedent protecting our fundamental liberties, including Roe v. Wade and Whole Woman’s Health,” Planned Parenthood said.
The 49-year-old Judge Gorsuch, if confirmed, would replace pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia – who supporting overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to once again provide legal protection for unborn children.
Justice Gorsuch is currently a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which includes the districts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, as well as the Eastern, Northern and Western districts of Oklahoma. He has served as a federal judge since August 2006 and was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed unanimously by the Senate.
The pro-life legal scholars who know him best say he is a strong originalist, believing that the Constitution should only be interpreted as the Founding Fathers intended. That would him squarely in the legal camp of Justice Scalia.
One of the biggest problems pro-life advocates have with the Supreme Court is that it invented a so-called right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. But Gorsuch’s writings indicate he opposes that kind of thinking. In a 2005 National Review article, Gorsuch wrote that liberals rely on the courts too much to made social policy.
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. In constitutional litigation, too, experiments and pilot programs–real-world laboratories in which ideas can be assessed on the results they produce–are not possible. Ideas are tested only in the abstract world of legal briefs and lawyers arguments. As a society, we lose the benefit of the give-and-take of the political process and the flexibility of social experimentation that only the elected branches can provide.
He said liberal activists rely on the judicial system “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.”
On direct pro-life matters, Gorsuch sided with the state of Utah in its attempt to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Gorsuch sided with pro-life Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood. After his decision, the 10th Circuit Court decided against re-hearing Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert, after the court previously ordered Utah to fund Planned Parenthood. Gorsch dissented in the case and wrote:
Respectfully, this case warrants rehearing. As it stands, the panel opinion leaves litigants in preliminary injunction disputes reason to worry that this court will sometimes deny deference to district court factual findings; relax the burden of proof by favoring attenuated causal claims our precedent disfavors; and invoke arguments for reversal untested by the parties, unsupported by the record, and inconsistent with principles of comity. Preliminary injunction disputes like this one recur regularly and ensuring certainty in the rules governing them, and demonstrating that we will apply those rules consistently to all matters that come before us, is of exceptional importance to the law, litigants, lower courts, and future panels alike. I respectfully dissent.
As National Review pro-life legal scholar Ed Whelan notes:
I’d like to take note of his remarkable failure to acknowledge, much less credit Gorsuch for, Gorsuch’s powerful dissent (see pp. 16-27 here) one month ago from the Tenth Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc in Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert. As the faithful reader will recall from these posts of mine, in the aftermath of the Center for Medical Progress’s release of videos depicting various Planned Parenthood affiliates’ ugly involvement in harvesting body parts, Utah governor Gary Herbert directed state agencies “to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds” to Planned Parenthood’s Utah affiliate. But after the district court denied Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction against Herbert’s directive, a divided panel, on very weak reasoning, ruled that Planned Parenthood was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Gorsuch’s dissent dismantles the panel majority’s reasoning.
Would a Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch be inclined to overturn the decades-old decision fostering abortion on demand? His record suggests he is open to doing so.
In the panel ruling in Games-Perez, Gorsuch did indeed regard himself as bound to abide by controlling circuit precedent, just as nearly every circuit judge not named Stephen Reinhardt also does. But Gorsuch didn’t stop there. In a 20-page opinion, he urged the en banc Tenth Circuit to reconsider and overrule the wrong precedent.
Gorsuch also has made pro-life comments about abortion and strongly opposes assisted suicide. He has written a book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which (as Princeton University Press puts it) “builds a nuanced, novel, and powerful moral and legal argument against legalization [of assisted suicide and euthanasia], one based on a principle that, surprisingly, has largely been overlooked in the debate—the idea that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”
Meanwhile, as National Review reports, “Gorsuch wrote a powerful dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc in a case involving funding of Planned Parenthood.” NR indicates Gorsuch has written “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
Democrats have already promised to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee.
Sen. Jeff Merkle, a pro-abortion Oregon Democrat, said in an interview on Monday morning that he will filibuster any pick other than pro-abortion Judge Merrick garland — who pro-abortion president Barack Obama named to replace pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia.
“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”
Gorsuch is 49 years old. He and his wife, Louise, have two daughters and live in Boulder, Colorado.