Neil Gorsuch on Government Reform



No curbside voting during pandemic; keep existing rules

The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative justices granted Alabama's request to stay a federal judge's order that would allow local officials to offer curbside voting in the July runoff and loosen absentee ballot requirements in three of the state's large counties.

"Alabama is again able to enforce laws that help ensure the fairness and integrity of our elections," Alabama's Republican Attorney General said. A District Judge issued a preliminary injunction after finding that Alabama's election rules will cause sick or elderly voters to "likely face a painful and difficult choice between exercising their right to vote and safeguarding their health, which could prevent them from casting a vote in upcoming elections." Alabama appealed the decision. The state argued that it would be confusing to change absentee ballot rules.

Source: Time magazine: Concurrence on MERRILL v ALABAMA, No. 19A1063 , Jul 3, 2020

Strict originalist: interpret Constitution as Founders meant

Gorsuch is considered by many to hold a strict originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution--he is committed to reading the meaning of the document basically word for word, as he believes the Founding Fathers would have intended it 230 years ago.

Former President George W. Bush nominated Gorsuch to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in May 2006. Two months later, the Senate confirmed him by unanimous voice vote. "I resist pigeon holes. I think those are not terribly helpful, pigeon-holing someone as having this philosophy or that philosophy," Gorsuch said during his confirmation hearing, according to an online transcript of the event. "People do unexpected things and pigeon holes ignore gray areas in the law, of which there are a great many."

Source: Newsweek magazine on SCOTUS confirmation hearings , Jan 27, 2017

Administrative law: end the Chevron deference

Last August, Gorsuch made waves in the normally sleepy world of administrative law by advocating the end of a doctrine that has been tied closely to the functioning of the administrative state and the executive branch since the mid-1980s--a doctrine called Chevron deference. The basic idea behind Chevron is that, when Congress enacts a broadly worded statute whose precise contours are ambiguous, the courts should permit federal agencies to enforce it in any manner that is not clearly forbidden. Gorsuch's recent opinions in Gutierrez-Brizuela expressly urge: "We managed to live with the administrative state before Chevron. We could do it again." Ironically, Gorsuch's chief complaint about Chevron doctrine was something that would have been close to Justice Scalia's heart--that it empowers agencies to shift statutory interpretation away from courts, and subjects judicial decision-making to administrative review, rather than the other way around [whereas Scalia would disempower agencies].
Source: ScotusBlog.com on SCOTUS confirmation hearings , Jan 13, 2017

Other Justices on Government Reform: Neil Gorsuch on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Page last updated: May 06, 2021