Book Review, 0222 UTBJ, Vol. 35, No. 1. 45

Authorby John Greenya, J., Nicole Lagemann, J.
PositionVol. 35 1 Pg. 45

Book Review

No. Vol. 35 No. 1 Pg. 45

Utah Bar Journal

February, 2022

January, 2021

by John Greenya, J., Nicole Lagemann, J.

Gorsuch: The Judge Who Speaks for Himself

I love a good biography and was excited to read John Greenya’s book on the life of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Greenya’s book – published in January 2018, just months after Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court – is a fairly quick read and does a satisfactory job of getting the reader up to speed on the “newest” addition to the Court. The book is not an in-depth, deeply personal narrative of Gorsuch’s life prior to appointment, but instead is a helpful summary of his prior writings and the recollections of various colleagues that quickly illustrate Gorsuch’s background, attributes, and experiences and explain the path by which he came to be on the Court.

Greenya begins by introducing some of the immediate family members that were major influences on Gorsuch during his childhood in Denver, Colorado. His grandfather was a well-known attorney in town with a long and distinguished career, and Gorsuch’s parents, David and Anne, were attorneys who “‘raise their three children on the art of verbal sparring.’” Greenya does a particularly good job of giving the reader a vivid sense Anne’s personality, which is likely due to his familiarity with he having accepted the assignment in the mid-1980s to help her write a book about her time as head of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Reagan administration (after her forced resignation from that position). Anne was a determined and passionate individual, as illustrated by her reaction to a group of Republican lawyers who came to the house to persuade David to run for a state legislative position: Anne reportedly told them, “You’ve got the wrong Gorsuch,” and soon thereafter found herself campaigning (with nine-year-old Neil in tow) and winning the seat herself.

Greenya continues his narrative with a thorough discussion of Gorsuch’s many educational opportunities, starting with his time at Georgetown Prep, where he was in student government and became a debate champion. Gorsuch then studied at Columbia University, where, as a conservative student, he was “‘a political odd man out’” yet wrote for multiple school publications – including one newspaper that he founded with two friends. During this time, he wrote that while not all political beliefs were fashionable at Columbia, it was important that...

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