This photo provided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows Judge Neil Gorsuch. Conservatives who care about the court say they have no such worry this time around. They feel confident that whomever President Donald Trump nominates for the Supreme Court, they won’t be looking back with regret in the years to come. (10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals via AP)

This photo provided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows Judge Neil Gorsuch. Conservatives who care about the court say they have no such worry this time around. They feel confident that whomever President Donald Trump nominates for the Supreme Court, they won’t be looking back with regret in the years to come. (10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals via AP)

Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch skeptical of gov’t regulations

Neil Gorsuch, named Tuesday as President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, is known for his clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement.

Gorsuch is a Colorado native who earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in three years, then earned a law degree from Harvard. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Byron White, a fellow Coloradan, and Anthony Kennedy before earning a philosophy degree at Oxford University and working for a prominent Washington, D.C., law firm.

He served for two years in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department before Bush appointed him to a seat on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006.

He is the son of Anne Gorsuch, who served as EPA administrator during the Reagan administration.

Gorsuch has contended that courts give too much deference to government agencies’ interpretations of statutes, a deference that stems from a Supreme Court ruling in a 1984 case. He sided with two groups that successfully challenged the Obama administration’s requirements that employers provide health insurance that includes contraception.

David Lane, a prominent Denver plaintiff’s attorney who frequently clashes with law enforcement, praised Gorsuch as fair and open-minded. Lane won a $1.8 million jury verdict against the Denver Police Department in a brutality and wrongful arrest case. The city appealed and the case ended up before Gorsuch. Lane said the judge tore into the city’s lawyers and urged them to go to mediation rather than drag out appeals for years to deny the plaintiffs their reward. The mediation led the case to be settled for $1.6 million.

“He is a very, very smart man. His leanings are very conservative, but he’s qualified to be on the Supreme Court,” Lane said. “I don’t know that Judge Gorsuch has a political agenda and he is sincere and honest and believes what he writes.”

Rebecca Love Kourlis, a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, said Gorsuch has written 175 majority opinions and 65 concurrences or dissents in his decade on the 10th Circuit.

“He’s really earned his stripes,” she said.

Kourlis said Gorsuch is also a notable advocate for simplifying the justice system to make it more accessible. “Legal services in this country are so expensive that the United States ranks near the bottom of developed nations when it comes to access to counsel in civil cases,” Gorsuch wrote in an article in a journal for judges last year. “The real question is what to do about it.”

The article is written in Gorsuch’s characteristic, straightforward style.

“He thinks it’s really important for people other than lawyers to understand what he’s writing,” Kourlis said.

Gorsuch is also an avid skier, fly fisherman and horseback rider, Kourlis said. He teaches at the University of Colorado’s law school in Boulder.

“He is humble, he is extremely articulate and he is extraordinarily hardworking,” Kourlis said.

In his financial disclosure report for 2015, he reported assets ranging from $3.1 million to $7.25 million. He earned $26,000 for his law school duties and another $5,300 in book royalties that year.

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Gorsuch stands with his wife Louise. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

Curtis Davis sharpens a spike at his makeshift campsite near Juneau International Airport on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
With no official place to camp, homeless and neighborhoods alike are suffering miseries

Complaints to JPD nearly double, social agencies seek “safety zone,” many campers just want peace.

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maassen receives applause from his fellow justices and members of the Alaska Legislature during the annual State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy will be asked to pick fourth state Supreme Court justice

Applications being accepted to replace Peter Maassen, who reaches mandatory retirement age next year

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, June 10, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska ranked choice repeal measure wins first round of legal challenge, but trial awaits

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of a proposed… Continue reading

Juneau resident Ajah Rose Bishop, 21, suffered severe spinal injuries in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning. (GoFundMe fundraiser photo)
Woman breaks spine in single-vehicle collision on Egan Drive early Saturday morning

21-year-old Juneau resident medivaced to Anchorage, online fundraising effort underway.

Shannan Greene (left) and Sharyn Augustine hold signs on April 27 urging residents to sign recall petitions for Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen and Vice President Emil Mackey due to their roles in a budget crisis for the current fiscal year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
School board recall petitions submitted; supporters of Saturday cruise ship ban need more signatures

Third initiative seeking to repeal default by-mail elections also has 10 days to get more signers.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, June 9, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, June 8, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read