Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

A Justice Who Will Fight for What's Right

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

A Justice Who Will Fight for What's Right

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Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch deserves support of state's US senators

In late January, President Donald Trump took an important step toward ensuring that the U.S. Supreme Court will protect the interests of the people of West Virginia and all of the United States. Fulfilling an important campaign promise, Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, a brilliant jurist with a demonstrated commitment to the rule of law, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The following day, I sent a letter to Senate leaders along with the attorneys general of 19 other states to express strong support for Gorsuch and urge the Senate to confirm him without delay.

As the chief legal officer in West Virginia, I sent that letter because the choice to replace Scalia is an urgent matter for the people of this state.

On Feb. 9, 2016, a divided 5-4 Supreme Court granted West Virginia's motion to stay then-president Barack Obama's unlawful and burdensome Clean Power Plan, which was designed to put coal companies out of business - and our coal miners out of work. Scalia provided a critical fifth vote in favor of the stay.

As a result, the president's power plan was halted in its tracks, and that stay remains in place today.

Had the power plan become law, by the Environmental Protection Agency's own estimate, it would have cost tens of thousands of jobs in the coal, natural gas and electricity sectors by 2025.

As it turned out, tragically, Scalia's vote staying the power plan would be one of his last public acts. Less than one week after the stay was granted, Scalia died unexpectedly. Had President Obama (or a president Hillary Clinton) filled his seat, the stay would have been jeopardized and our coal miners placed at risk.

Voters here and around the country, however, ensured that would not happen. During the campaign, in perhaps the most transparent judicial selection process in history, Trump released a list of judges, including Gorsuch, that he promised to use exclusively to select Scalia's replacement. …

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