Saturday, Feb 25, 2017
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FEATURED EDITORIAL

Committed to the law

Judge Neil Gorsuch, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (based in Denver and serving six Western states from Kansas to New Mexico), is a stellar choice for the Supreme Court. President Trump got this one right.

Mr. Gorsuch’s book on assisted suicide is evidence of his willingness to dig deep into complex and controversial subjects. He is not afraid to take controversial stands, such as writing an opinion in defense of employers who sought an exemption from Obamacare’s mandate to provide insurance for contraception. (This was based on a claim of freedom of religious conscience.) And he has said that rights that do not appear in the Constitution’s text should not be read into it.

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President Trump announces Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Gorsuch stands with his wife, Louise

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But what is most notable is Judge Gorsuch’s commitment to the rule of law. Like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he would succeed, he holds that judges should interpret the Constitution according to its original meaning, and that they must follow legal reasoning even if they do not like the results.

Judge Gorsuch has also called a rule that judges must defer, in many cases, to how administrative agencies interpret the law “a judge-made doctrine for the abdication of judicial duty.”

The judge has voted to protect defendants against unreasonable searches. He protected the religious freedom of a Native American inmate to access a prison sweat lodge. And he rejected an administrative interpretation of the law that was hostile to immigrants.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) has come out against the nomination on ideological grounds. He’s wrong.

Democrats can’t expect a Republican president with a Republican Senate to give them a nominee to their ideological taste. They must limit themselves to demanding an intelligent jurist, committed to the rule of law and the clearly enumerated constitutional rights, who will adhere to his principles without prejudice. The indications so far are that President Trump has sent the Senate such a nominee.

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