While President Trump was admonishing the press about its fake news yesterday, the left-leaning Alliance for Justice published some fake news of its own, titled "The Gorsuch Record." The Gorsuch opinions and other materials cited by the AFJ report are real, but the conclusions it draws are fake - very fake.
The report concludes that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch "has, throughout his life, been driven by an ultraconservative ideology ... marked by four themes," including hostility toward progress, indifference to Americans' health and safety, bias in favor of corporations, and overlooking abuses of constitutional rights (see page one of the report). These four alleged themes are disturbing ones - until you take a closer look.
A close review of the report's bases for its conclusions reveals that those conclusions are heavily clothed in progressive spin. To give you a more accurate picture of Judge Gorsuch's record, we have translated AFJ's four themes by removing the spin. Viewed in that new light (see below), the four themes turn out to be an excellent summary of why mainstream Americans should support Judge Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Theme #1: Judge Gorsuch is "hostil[e] toward social and legal progress over the last century," threatening to "take the country backwards" through his belief "that judges should 'strive . . . to apply the law as it is.'"
Translation: Gorsuch believes social and legal progress should be accomplished democratically, rather than through unelected judges creating new rights. Accordingly, judges should focus on constitutional and statutory text rather than their personal vision of how the law should evolve.
Theme #2: Gorsuch is "willing to downplay abuses of constitutional rights by government actors."
Translation: Gorsuch believes that judges should follow the law where it leads, regardless of whether the result is a ruling for the government or the individual. He also believes that judges should defer to the policy decisions of our elected representatives unless there is a clear constitutional violation. Finally, he believes law enforcement agents should be given the benefit of the doubt when performing their jobs in good faith.
Theme #3: Gorsuch "aggrandize[s] corporations over individuals."
Translation: Gorsuch believes that both arbitration agreements and the legal requirements for class action lawsuits should be enforced, and that statutory text should be adhered to, regardless of whether a plaintiff's claims have emotional appeal. He is skeptical of plaintiffs' lawyers who use frivolous claims to get rich. And he does not believe that people forfeit their First Amendment rights to religious liberty and free speech when they go into business.
Theme #4: Gorsuch expresses "skepticism of the federal government's role in protecting the health and safety of the American people and a desire to weaken important legal protections."
Translation: Gorsuch believes that the regulations issued by federal bureaucrats are legitimate only insofar as they faithfully implement the democratically-enacted statutes that authorize the rules in question. He is concerned that ever-expanding, unaccountable federal bureaucracies can undermine democracy and believes that when Congress delegates virtually unlimited discretion to such bureaucracies, it runs afoul of the Constitution.