04/06/2017

I’m A Democrat Who Worked With Neil Gorsuch—And I Think His Morals Matter More Than His Politics

Dayna Bowen Matthew, Quartz

For three years, I had the pleasure of working with Neil Gorsuch at the University of Colorado Law School. This week, I will be watching eagerly as the US Congress prepares to vote on his confirmation as Supreme Court justice.

As a Democrat, I have tremendous respect for the political reasons that members of my own party will refuse to cast a vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch. And Republicans’ refusal to grant a confirmation hearing to Judge Merrick Garland was indefensible, in my view. Yet I will celebrate when the political debate is over, and Judge Gorsuch is confirmed.

My reasons for supporting Judge Gorsuch, despite differences between his political beliefs and my own, boil down to this: My personal and professional experiences with him have shown him to be a moral and ethical man. And when it comes to evaluating a nominee for the Supreme Court, I believe that the nominee’s moral approach to decision-making can matter more than the expected content of the decisions they will make.

History has shown us that it can be hard to predict how justices will vote; remember that Anthony Kennedy, now a key swing vote on the Supreme Court, was nominated by Ronald Reagan as a conservative pick. And so, at a time when my party controls neither the White House nor the Senate, I choose to focus on the nominee as a whole person, rather than exclusively on his politics. This, I believe, is the surest way to pick justices who will strive to give meaning to the words inscribed on the Supreme Court Building: “Equal justice under law.”

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