From National Review:
President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court will be Neil Gorsuch, a well-respected conservative whose legal philosophy is remarkably similar to that of Antonin Scalia, the justice he will replace if the Senate confirms him. He is, like Scalia, a textualist and an originalist: someone who interprets legal provisions as their words were originally understood.
Gorsuch is a Colorado native and the son of a Republican politician, the late Anne Gorsuch Burford, who was a state legislator and then director of the Environmental Protection Agency for President Reagan. He attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School, after which he clerked for D.C. Circuit Court judge David Sentelle. He then clerked for Supreme Court justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy in 1993–94. The next year he studied for a doctorate of philosophy at Oxford University under the legal philosopher John Finnis.
After spending ten years at a law firm in Washington, D.C., Gorsuch went to work for the Justice Department in 2005–06. President George W. Bush nominated him to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. His confirmation was quick and uncontroversial.
That Judge Gorsuch’s judicial philosophy is similar to Justice Scalia’s is evident from a tribute the former gave after the latter’s death. In that tribute, Gorsuch summarized and endorsed Scalia’s method of legal interpretation:
“Judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best. As Justice Scalia put it, “if you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.”
A lawyer who clerked for both Justice Scalia and Judge Gorsuch sees parallels between the two men. Gorsuch is “a law-has-right-answers kind of guy, an originalist and a textualist,” he says. “He believes that the enterprise of law is real and worth doing and not just politics by other means.”
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