ACRU

A Conversation about Neil Gorsuch

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This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published January 31, 2017 by PJ Media.

After Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court, constitutionalists were delighted. The consensus was that it was a home run pick. I couldn’t help but notice PJ Media’s David Steinberg having some fun with beyond-expiry Evan McMullin. McMullin, you see, predicted that Donald Trump would be a sellout because he “cannot be trusted to appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court.”

McMullin has become leftover cod. He is the political version of the Macarena. It’s time to go. They’re flashing the lights Evan. The Gorsuch pick tonight, among other actions, shows the McMullin campaign was built on a false premise.

But back to Gorsuch. I had a conversation tonight with a Justice Department colleague of Gorsuch —- Brad Schlozman, the former acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri —- to get his take on the Gorsuch pick. His response couldn’t be more reassuring. Both were at the DOJ together. He tells me:

Neil Gorsuch is a brilliant thinker and jurist whose legacy on the Supreme Court promises to be inspiring for American conservatives who believe that the role of the judiciary is to say what the law is, not what the law should be. His tenure on the 10th Circuit over the last decade has proven him to be a strict constructionist who believes that the Constitution imposes definitive limits on the rights it affords and that policymaking is the province of the legislature, not an unelected judiciary. He also seems to understand acutely that the radical expansion of the federal bureaucracy is reaching and often exceeding its permissible limits, and that deference to that bureaucracy is frequently unwarranted. In short, he is the dream of conservative thinkers and will bring great honor to the Supreme Court. On top of all that, he is an extraordinarily warm and down-to-earth individual who is impossible not to like.

Recognizing the danger of an unhinged federal ministerial state may be the greatest domestic threat to liberty we have faced in generations. It is the nightmare the founders sought to avoid. And for that reason alone, the Gorsuch pick was a master stroke of President Trump in a week full of master strokes.