Gorsuch: The Judge Who Speaks for Himself.

AuthorGaffney, Gary S.
PositionBook review

Gorsuch: The Judge Who Speaks for Himself by John Greenya

Author John Greenya has penned several books on Washington politics, and collaborated on a handful more, so this short, 200-page look at the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter century is right in his wheelhouse. Indeed, not without coincidence, Greenya actually coauthored a book in the 1980s with Gorsuch's mother, Anne Burford--the controversial head of the EPA during the Reagan administration--with whom he remained friendly until she passed in 2004. Greenya actually notes, "the book is about Neil, but it is also for his mother."

Born in Colorado, in the late 1960s, Associate Justice Gorsuch remains somewhat of an enigma to Democrats and Republicans alike. Many folks focused more on the refusal of the Republican Congress to acknowledge President Obama's appointee, Merrick Garland--and its use of the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate to effect his confirmation--than to the judge himself. But in a noticeably flattering effort to help illuminate some of the more important aspects of Justice's Gorsuch's life, Greenya's book fills that void.

Much of the source material for the book comes from interviews Greenya conducted with folks who know Justice Gorsuch, and via newspaper articles and other periodicals (from which Greenya quotes quite extensively). The format is essentially chronological; the text is neatly segmented into 10 relatively short chapters--all easy reading. He begins with Gorsuch's early childhood, then goes on to discuss his education, his clerking, his work as a lawyer, his year at the DOJ, and a decade on the federal bench. In this way, Gorsuch illuminates the justice's more significant legal (and political) influences: family, education, and career.

Chapter 7 provides but a brief glimpse into Gorsuch's record on the 10th Circuit. Unfortunately, Greenya spends much of this chapter discussing Colorado v. Simpson, a case in which the court merely reversed a summary judgment (via an opinion Judge Gorsuch did not even write), and which, in fact, later settled. With some 3,000 cases from which to choose, one would think there was a better case to display Gorsuch here. Greenya also mentions two other cases (that Gorsuch himself presented at the hearings): Yellowbear v. Lambert (a prison-religious-freedom case), which most lawyers would agree, "could not have turned out any other way"; and the 10th Circuit's treatment of the infamous Hobby Lobby case (an opinion...

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