Green River Star -

By Mike Enzi
U.S. Senator 

Supreme Court needs a judge who understands the West

 

March 22, 2017



Last month President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to be America’s next Supreme Court Justice. He is an admirable choice, not only because of his unquestionable legal experience, but because of his knowledge and understanding of the West.

Western issues are not always the same as issues from other parts of the country. It is important that we have someone on the Supreme Court who has a shared perspective. Someone who understands the unique struggles that our history, geography, environment, industries and way of life present.

With his Western roots, Judge Gorsuch is the justice we need. His mom was born in Casper. His family built the Wolf hotel in Saratoga before Wyoming was even a state. He has served for over a decade as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals rising from legal disputes in Wyoming and other western states. He has a good understanding of the legal issues that matter to the people of Wyoming.

His work speaks highly of his understanding of the Constitution and the values that we as Americans hold dear. Just last year, in one of the dissents that he wrote for a case, Judge Gorsuch demonstrated his belief in the obligation of judges to apply, not rewrite, the law, writing, “Indeed, a judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.”

Look no further for the way in which Judge Gorsuch will make his decisions than this previous quote. One of America’s foundational pillars, which provides support for our government and protection of our freedoms, is a fair and objective judicial system. That is the perspective we need from our judges.

Judge Gorsuch’s many years of dedication to the law and service to America’s judicial system clearly qualify him to serve on America’s highest court. Some of the first signs Judge Gorsuch would be a great jurist happened early in his life, when he won a national debate championship in high school. He went on to attend Columbia University, and received a scholarship to attend Harvard Law School.

As a new lawyer, he learned from some of the best jurists in America. He performed clerkships first for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and later for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy at the United States Supreme Court.

After working in private practice and at the Department of Justice, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Senate confirmed him by voice vote. That means that in 2006, my colleagues and I were so confident about Judge Gorsuch, his character, and his qualifications to serve as a federal judge, that he was confirmed without anyone even asking for a recorded vote.

The American Bar Association gave Judge Gorsuch the group’s highest rating.

As a uniquely exceptional scholar and respected jurist – not to mention a fellow westerner and avid outdoorsman who shares my love of fly-fishing – he’s the kind of man I trust to serve America on the highest court in the land. I have met Judge Gorsuch and he has a lot of support from folks in Wyoming and the legal community – people on both sides of the political aisle – who I know and trust, and whose opinions I value.

Despite the laundry list of exemplary qualifications that Judge Gorsuch holds, we are seeing opposition to his nomination. I would be remiss if I didn’t state my disappointment in all the unproductive distraction around this pick by activists bent on politicizing the judicial nomination process.

In November, millions of people went to the polls knowing that there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court and that whoever became the next president would choose a nominee. Their voices should be heard. And in the Senate, it’s among one of our most important duties to carefully vet the nominees who come before us.

Never is that responsibility so stark and so substantial, as when our nation faces a vacancy on the Supreme Court. It is clear that Judge Gorsuch is up to the solemn and mighty task of serving as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

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