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Thursday round-up

Coverage and commentary on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court continues to take center stage. Mark Walsh covers the scene in the East Room for this blog. Nick Blumberg reports on the nomination for Chicago Tonight, as does Ron Elving for NPR. The most recent episode of the NPR Politics Podcast features coverage of the nomination. At Bloomberg BNA (video), Kimberly Robinson and Patrick Gregory break down the new Supreme Court nominee’s qualifications.

Coverage of the confirmation process ahead comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR; Michael Bobelian at Forbes; Sean Sullivan and others in The Washington Post; and Alexander Bolton at The Hill.

Commentary on the confirmation process comes from Greg Sargent in The Washington Post, who argues that Democrats “can use the nomination fight to shine a light on Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and serial undermining of our democratic norms.” In a column for The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse remarks that beliefs that branded Robert Bork as “’out of the mainstream’” and doomed his 1987 nomination to the court are now widely accepted by a majority of justices, concluding that it “may be scant comfort to progressives – perhaps the only comfort available to them at this freighted time – that today’s mainstream is not necessarily tomorrow’s.” At Prawfsblawgs, Howard Wasserman argues in favor of a filibuster by Senate Democrats, but notes that “the framing of the strategy is going to be essential” and that “the Democrats need to find their own principle beyond tit-for-tat.” The editorial board of The Washington Post also weighs in on the confirmation, arguing that “trashing Mr. Gorsuch as an outlandish radical” “is at the very least premature.”

In The Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Turley argues that if “Trump wants to have a lasting effect on the law, he should be working with the Republican Congress to make changes in — not on — the Supreme Court,” including increasing the court’s size, allowing cameras in the courtroom, and imposing ethics requirements on the justices. Another proposal for reform on the court comes from Lee Drutman at Vox, who argues that “term limits for Supreme Court justices” could “abate some of the destructive warfare of the Supreme Court confirmation process” At SSRN, Matthew Frank also makes the case for term limits.

Analysis of the impact of the appointment on the court comes from Nina Totenberg at NPR (video). At Empirical Scotus, Adam Feldman also explores the effect a Gorsuch vote might have in various areas of the law, summarizing the judge’s most-cited opinions and his dissents.

In the Michigan Law Review, Leah Litman looks at Gorsuch’s opinion in a case involving a post-conviction challenge to a criminal sentence, concluding that the “opinion overvalues proceduralism relative to substantive rights in a way that will have the effect of eroding litigants’ access to courts.” At Vox, Dylan Matthews examines a speech last year in which Gorsuch outlined his thoughts “about the proper role of judges.” At Legal Planet, Ann Carlson looks at how Gorsuch might rule in environmental cases. At Wired, Issie Lapowsky surveys the tech-related issues Gorsuch would face on the court, while at E&E News, Ellen Gilmer looks at Gorsuch’s record in cases involving energy and the environment. At the International Institute for Conflict Resolution’s CPR Speaks blog, Russ Bleemer examines Gorsuch’s arbitration jurisprudence, concluding that his record doesn’t “show a pronounced tilt toward business or consumers.” In The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins reports on Gorsuch’s writings on assisted suicide and euthanasia, noting that Gorsuch “firmly opposes” both practices, “and argues against death with dignity laws,” because of “his belief in an ‘inviolability’ of human life.”

In the New York Daily News, Chris Sommerfeldt reports that while in college, Gorsuch “expressed disdain for protesters in a series of columns published by a Columbia University newspaper — and one time had to retract a fabricated story he wrote about a student activist.” At In a Crowded Theater, Erica Goldberg looks at the court of appeals decision in the Hobby Lobby case, in which Gorsuch voted to uphold a closely held, for-profit corporation’s religious objections to the Affordable Health Care’s contraception mandate, providing “a quick and dirty primer on why Judge Gorsuch’s reasoning is justifiable.” At Prawfsblawgs, Jordan Singer points to the benefits of attaining geographic diversity on the court, while Ann Marie Marciarille wonders whether Gorsuch’s relationship with his mother, and his mother’s early death from cancer, might have affected his views on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

At Bloomberg, Greg Stohr reports on Gorsuch’s record in business-related cases, noting that the judge has “a generally company-friendly record in his decade on a Denver-based federal appeals court” and that before “he became a judge, Gorsuch argued in favor of curbing class action securities-fraud suits.” At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley also reports that as “a lawyer in private practice for a decade, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch often fought on behalf of business interests, including efforts to curb securities class action lawsuits.”

Commentary on the appointment comes from Christina Cauterucci at Slate’s XX Factor blog, who looks at what Gorsuch’s nomination means for women, arguing that as “far as the health, safety, and civil rights of America’s women are concerned, it’s hard to imagine how the court could do worse”; Ilya Shapiro at the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, who maintains that “Donald Trump has managed to pick a nominee who should please everyone other than progressives”; Andrew Cohen at The Marshall Project, who notes that there “are several areas of criminal law where it is unclear how Gorsuch will come down”; Robert George in The Washington Post, who asserts that if “Democrats are looking for a point of vulnerability in either Gorsuch’s integrity or impartiality, they won’t find it”; Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire, who argues that Gorsuch is “more conservative than the late Justice Antonin Scalia whom he was appointed to replace—which is why it matters that Democrats fight like hell to block his nomination”; Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences, who remarks favorably that Gorsuch has “respected and applied the AEDPA reform as intended,” limiting the role of federal courts in habeas cases; and Ari Berman in The Nation, who worries that Gorsuch will be “the deciding vote on critical voting-rights cases very soon,” and asserts that another “Scalia on the Supreme Court is the last thing we need right now.”


  • In The Washington Post, Laura Vozzella reports that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her first visit yesterday to “Virginia Military Institute, a campus she helped revolutionize 20 years ago with an order to admit women,” noting that “Ginsburg was greeted like a rock star by a crowd of about 3,800.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] 

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Thursday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 2, 2017, 7:40 AM),