Who is Supreme Court Nominee Neil McGill Gorsuch?

Neil Gorsuch

Neil McGill Gorsuch, born August 29, 1967, is an American federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.The territorial jurisdiction of the Tenth Circuit includes the six states of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, plus those portions of the Yellowstone National Park extending into Montana and Idaho.

On February 1, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to fill the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonino Scalia eleven months earlier. Gorsuch's nomination will first be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds hearings on all federal judicial nominations and decides whether or not to send nominations to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. The committee consists of 11 Republican Senators and 9 Democratic Senators, and is chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley. Gorsuch's confirmation hearings are scheduled to start on March 20, 2017, and are expected to last up to four days. [1]

Constituents may contact their representatives of Congress re-guarding the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.  Read the Indivisible Guide on Gorsuch.

Mayor John Suthers (Colorado Springs), the former Colorado  Attorney General had this remark

“Gorsuch is an interpretivist,” Suthers said. “He believes that we look at the language of the Constitution, attempt to decipher what the founders meant.” [2]

​Abbreviated Biography 

Education / Career

Gorsuch was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in May 2006. His nomination was confirmed in the United States Senate by unanimous voice vote (not an uncommon practice among appellate justice appointments.)

Judge Gorsuch holds a doctoral degree in legal philosophy from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall scholar; and a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he studied as a Harry S. Truman scholar and was a classmate of President Barack Obama. He also earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Judge Gorsuch began his legal career as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justices Byron R. White and Anthony M. Kennedy, as well as to Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

He entered private practice as a partner at the law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel (Washington DC,) specializing in complex litigation. His work ranged from antitrust law to securities fraud,and fiduciary duty to telecommunications. He regularly represented both plaintiffs and defendants, and his clients included individuals, nonprofits, class actions, and small companies as well as Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Gorsuch served at the United States Department of Justice as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. There, he helped oversee the Department's five civil litigating divisions, together with eight other operating components. Judge Gorsuch is the recipient of the Edward J. Randolph Award for outstanding service to the Department of Justice, and the Harry S. Truman Foundation's Stevens Award for outstanding public service in the field of law. [3]

Family History

Born in Denver, Colorado on August 29, 1967, he would be one of the few justices hailing from west of the Mississippi, adding some geographic diversity to a court where most of the justices hail from the Northeast. Gorsuch spent his teenage years living in Washington, D.C., when President Ronald Reagan appointed his mother, Anne Gorsuch Buford, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Neil Gorsuch later attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit school, from which he graduated in 1985.[1]


His mother, Anne Gorsuch, served as President Ronald Reagan’s first Environmental Protection Agency administrator and the first female leader in the agency’s history. But her short, tumultuous tenure was marked by sharp budget cuts, rifts with career EPA employees, a steep decline in cases filed against polluters and a scandal over the mismanagement of the Superfund cleanup program that ultimately led to her resignation in 1983. [2] See more about Anne Gorsuch.

His wife, Louise, is a native of the United Kingdom. They met when they were both studying at Oxford and have two teenage daughters.

Religious affiliation

Gorsuch, although raised a Roman Catholic, left that church and attends St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder. His confirmation would make him the first Protestant to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court since the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

Outside Interests

Gorsuch is listed as a Thompson Visiting Professor at Colorado Law, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Class Fall 2016 Legal Ethics and Professionalism LAWS 6103-001

He is the author of two books. His first book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, was published by Princeton University Press in July 2006. He is a co-author of The Law of Judicial Precedent, published by Thomson West in 2016 

Judge Gorsuch is an avid hunter and fisherman, even having enjoyed fly-fishing with his predecessor and mentor, Justice Scalia. [3]

Additional Biographic information

​Neil Gorsuch Wikipedia [1]

Rulings / Directions

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius (2013)

This is the most recent memorable ruling that he decided on.The Greens, who often have Hobby Lobby buy newspaper ads encouraging people to “know Jesus as Lord and Savior,” also think that their religious beliefs should be imposed on Hobby Lobby’s 22,000 employees

Hobby Lobby petitioned to not provide birth control (contraception) in the employee health plan. Gorsuch held that federal law prohibited the Department of Health and Human services from for-profit secular corporations to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans. A narrowly divided 5-4 Supreme Court Decision upheld his ruling.

This ruling gave more weight to the rights of the company owners over the rights of employees.

Gorsuch is quoted as saying:

"All of us face the problem of complicity. All of us must answer for ourselves whether and to what degree we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others. For some, religion provides an essential source of guidance both about what constitutes wrongful conduct and the degree to which those who assist others in committing wrongful conduct themselves bear moral culpability."

Those religious beliefs, he concluded, justified allowing the individuals, and not just the corporations, to challenge the government's rules for employer-sponsored health insurance plans. [5]

De Niz Robles v. Lynch and Gutierrez-Brizula v. Lynch

In De Niz Robles v. Lynch and Gutierrez-Brizula v. Lynch, two immigration cases, Gorsuch ruled against the government, criticizing the legal doctrine that federal courts should defer to executive branch interpretations on certain laws.[6]

Judge Gorsuch has no record whatsoever in several key areas, including abortion rights, freedom of the press, first amendment protections, and gun control.​ [6]

Additional Ruling Links


​CNN Politics

Key Democrats Opinions

Diane Feinstein

Senate Democrats are requesting more information about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s role defending the George W. Bush administration in lawsuits over terrorism policies and interrogation of detainees.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the information provided by Gorsuch about his 2005-2006 employment at the Justice Department has raised more questions.

“With your hearing only six days away, it has come to my attention that your response via the Department of Justice to my letter of February 22 is incomplete and must be supplemented immediately,” Feinstein wrote, setting a deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Hundreds of thousands of document pages provided cryptic descriptions of the work of Gorsuch, who served as a high-ranking Justice Department official before being confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in July 2006.

Feinstein (Calif.) requested documents covering “all litigation related to the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism, intelligence, detention, interrogation, military, or related efforts in which you drafted or reviewed a legal filing.”

The request signaled a potential new avenue of questioning for Gorsuch by the committee’s Democrats and came as the partisan and ideological battle over Gorsuch’s nomination began to heat up on Capitol Hill. [7]

Nancy Pelosi

(CNN)House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted President Donald Trump's newly named Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch as "a very hostile appointment" and "a very bad decision, well outside the mainstream of American legal thought."

"Elections have ramifications, and here is a living, breathing example of it," Pelosi said Tuesday night during a CNN town hall moderated by Jake Tapper.

Pelosi cited Gorsuch's rulings on health care, gun safety and environmental issues to explain her concerns. She said Senate Democrats -- who only have 48 seats and have not yet determined whether to attempt to block Gorsuch's nomination -- should apply the "strongest scrutiny."

But Pelosi did not say whether Democrats should filibuster Gorsuch, a move some in the party would rather use for a future nominee who could change the court's balance of power. [8]

Read more from Nancy Pelosi

Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer met with Gorsuch and pressed him on hot button issues, Shumer says, "But the judge today avoided answers like the plague. This President is testing fundamental underpinnings of our democracy and its institutions. These times deserve answers and Judge Gorsuch did not provide them. I have serious, serious concerns about this nominee."

The New York Democrat's views could be very influential with other senators in his caucus who must decide in the coming months whether to block Gorsuch through a filibuster or clear the way for him to be confirmed.

"He is clearly a very smart, polite and capable man who loves being a judge," Schumer said about Gorsuch, who currently serves on the US Court of Appeals in Denver. "But his nomination comes at a perilous time in the relationship between the Executive and Judicial branches. On the campaign trail and from inside the White House, President Trump has shown a deep contempt for an independent judiciary that doesn't always bow before him." [9]

Read more from Chuck Schumer

Elizabeth Warren

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is faulting President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, saying he favors the interests of big corporations over workers and consumers.

The Massachusetts Democrat described Gorsuch on the floor of the Senate Wednesday as a ‘‘huge gift to the giant corporations and wealthy individuals who have stolen a Supreme Court seat.’’

Warren was referring to the refusal of Republicans to allow a hearing last year on Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

Warren and fellow Massachusetts Democrat, Sen. Edward Markey, have said they will oppose Gorsuch’s nomination.

Warren said throughout his career, Gorsuch has regularly sided with employers who denied wages, improperly fired workers, retaliated against whistleblowers and denied retirement benefits to their workers.

“Based on the long and well-established record of Judge Gorsuch, I will oppose his nomination.” [10]

Read more from Elizabeth Warren

Gun Safety

There are many issues to consider in confirming the next Justice, but the issue of gun safety alone makes the stakes of this confirmation too high to ignore: the impact of decisions in major future gun cases will be measured in lives.

Given those stakes, leaders in the gun violence prevention movement, including Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, are withholding support for Gorsuchs nomination until the Senate ensures his positions on firearms reflect the reasonable and responsible views of the judicial mainstream, not the views of the corporate gun lobby [11]


​1 Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gorsuch

2 Fox News21 http://fox21news.com/2017/02/02/colorado-springs-connection-to-supreme-court-nominee-gives-take-on-gorsuch/

3 Colorado Law http://lawweb.colorado.edu/profiles/profile.jsp?id=321

4. Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/01/neil-gorsuchs-mother-once-ran-the-epa-it-was-a-disaster/?utm_term=.8c59c9e624fb

5 Politics http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/31/politics/hobby-lobby-executive-power-gorsuch-key-rulings/

6. Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/key-decisions-from-supreme-court-nominee-neil-gorsuch/2017/01/31/47c36836-e736-11e6-b82f-687d6e6a3e7c_story.html?utm_term=.6bae3c207d14

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