Gorsuch Pick No Surprise Locally

News Sentinel, February 5, 2017 | Go to article overview

Gorsuch Pick No Surprise Locally


"(Gorsuch) is a texturalist, which is something Justice Scalia believed in very much."

Teri Baxter

Professor and associate dean at the University of Tennessee

Several law professors and lawyers s in Knoxville said the selection of federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's U.S. Supreme Court seat was unsurprising, as he has the experience and education expected of a Supreme Court justice and is ideologically aligned with conservatives.

Nearly a year after Justice Scalia's death left the Supreme Court shorthanded, President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch of Colorado to fill the void Tuesday night. Trump unveiled his nominee to the country on live television from the White House.

"Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," Trump said.

Gorsuch, 49, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in the western half of the country. He has defended religious liberties, most recently against the Affordable Care Act's so-called contraception mandate in the Hobby Lobby case. He has not ruled on abortion, but his book opposing assisted suicide reveals his views on the sanctity of life.

"(Gorsuch) is a texturalist, which is something Justice Scalia believed in very much," said Teri Baxter, a professor and associate dean for faculty development at the University of Tennessee's College of Law.

"He believes in reading laws carefully and faithfully and sticking to the text, and he's not a big believer in turning to legislative history or other outside sources for interpreting the law. ... On a lot of issues such as religion and in the way he interprets the law, in the way he interprets the Constitution, he seems to be a lot like Justice Scalia. …

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