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Legal Scholar Compares ‘Scalia with a Smile’ Neil Gorsuch to Rejected Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork

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Legal Scholar Compares ‘Scalia with a Smile’ Neil Gorsuch to Rejected Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork

While the White House is aggressively promoting the voices of surrogates and friends of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, highly regarded legal scholars are weighing in on the threat posed by Gorsuch.

Erwin Chemerinsky, a widely regarded scholar and dean of the School of Law at University of California, Irvine, calls Gorsuch “a backward jurist” whose views on the Constitution are similar to those of Robert Bork, whose 1987 Supreme Court nomination was rejected by senators in a bipartisan vote:

As a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, [Gorsuch] was a consistent vote against reproductive freedom, against plaintiffs in civil rights cases, against criminal defendants, against a separation of church and state.

He has espoused an originalist philosophy, saying that a constitutional provision means the same thing today as when it was adopted. Robert Bork was denied confirmation by the Senate in 1987 precisely because of his originalist views. Under originalism, no longer would there be constitutional protection for privacy, including reproductive freedom, or a right to marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and or even protection of women from discrimination under equal protection. None of these rights were intended by the framers. Nor did Justice Antonin Scalia support them. Democrats should not allow another justice on the Court with these views.

John Culhane, the H. Albert Young Fellow in constitutional law and co-director of the Family Health Law & Policy Institute at Widener University’s Delaware Law School, aptly calls Gorsuch “Scalia with a smile,” a reminder that Trump repeatedly promised right-wing activists a justice in the mold of Scalia. Culhane notes that as a result of Gorsuch’s “originalist’s view of constitutional interpretation,” he “would be a sure vote against women’s reproductive rights (not just abortion, but also their right to obtain birth control from an employer who objects to it) and the Supreme Court’s expansive view of liberty, a view that animates cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, where the majority found that same-sex couples couldn’t be denied the right to marry.”