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36 Top State Republican Party Attorneys Sign Letter Supporting Judge Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS

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The senior lawyer for the Oklahoma Republican Party organized 35 of his colleagues to join him in signing a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supporting President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

Anthony J. Ferate, the Oklahoma GOP’s general counsel, said it is important that a Supreme Court justice knows where the role of a judge ends and the role of Congress begins.

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“Judges risk becoming unelected legislators when they do not utilize the restraint essential to service in the Judiciary,” Ferate said.

“There should be no such reservation about Judge Gorsuch, and the attorneys signing the letter feel strongly about saying that,” he said.

“Judge Gorsuch embodies an exceptionally qualified scholar of the law that has exhibited respect for our Constitution, including the Separation of Powers and the 10th Amendment,” the letter read.

The 10th Amendment especially is important for Americans concerned about preserving the country’s federal systems, with a national government co-existing with 50 sovereign states.

The amendment was the last amendment approved for the first amendments known as the Bill of Rights, and it was meant as the final backstop to prevent the national government from growing beyond the intent of the Framers. It reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In the letter, the party attorneys wrote that Gorsuch has a history of understanding the different roles of Congress and the courts. “All too often judges do not recognize the restraint required of a judge; we have no such reservation here.”

Another point the GOP attorneys made was that Gorsuch could be trusted to protect free speech rights against schemes to restrict speech through campaign finance laws and regulations.

“Specific to the work we each conduct on behalf of state Republican parties, we believe that in cases such as Riddle v. Hickenlooper, 742 F.3d 922 (2014), Judge Gorsuch made clear his respect for Supreme Court precedent and how he values free speech rights for all in our country, particularly with a focus on elections,” the attorneys wrote. The Riddle v. Hickenlooper case centered on a Colorado law that restricted political contributions to $200 in a primary and $200 in a general election. Gorsuch joined the majority at the 10th Circuit of the Court of Appeals, which overturned the law.

Trump nominated Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Feb. 1 to fill the vacancy created by the Feb. 13, 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The judge is a graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and he earned a PhD from England’s Oxford University. He is the son of Anne Gorsuch, who led the Environmental Protection Agency for President Ronald Reagan.

The other signatories of the letter were: Chris Marston, general counsel, Republican Party of Virginia; Patrick O’Daniel, general counsel, Republican Party of Texas; Dirk Haire, chairman, Maryland Republican Party; Eric Opiela, associate general counsel, Republican Party of Texas; Stacey C. Stone, general counsel, Alaska Republican Party; Art Martinez de Vara, associate general counsel, Republican Party of Texas; Charles H. Bell, general counsel, California Republican Party; Jason Dore, general counsel, Republican Party of Louisiana; Eric Lycan, general counsel, Republican Party of Kentucky; J.C. Boggs, general counsel, D.C. Republican Party; Mark Carter, general Counsel, West Virginia Republican Party; Clayton L. Barker, general counsel, Kansas Republican Party; W. Charles Smithson, general counsel, Republican Party of Iowa; Harvey Tettlebaum, general counsel, Missouri Republican Party; Justin Bell, legal counsel, South Dakota Republican Party; Rex Terry, general counsel, Arkansas Republican Party; Mark Derby, legal counsel, New Hampshire Republican Party; Brian Buescher, volunteer legal counsel, Nebraska Republican Party; Brian Hardy, general counsel, Nevada Republican Party; Brandon Bell, chairman and general counsel, Rhode Island Republican Party; John Anderson, general counsel, New Mexico Republican Party; Mitchell H. Edwards, legal counsel, Wyoming Republican Party; Eric Doster, general counsel, Michigan Republican Party; Richard A. Forsten, general counsel, Republican Party of Delaware; Daniel E. Nordby, general counsel, Republican Party of Florida; Scott Carey, general counsel, Tennessee Republican Party; Albert L. Jordan, state legal counsel, Alabama Republican Party; John Fogarty Jr., general counsel, Illinois Republican Party; Timothy J. Bryant, general counsel, Maine Republican Party; Christopher O. Murray, general counsel, Colorado Republican Party; Tom Stark, general counsel, North Carolina Republican Party; John M. Lewis, assistant general counsel, North Carolina Republican Party; Butch Bowers, legal counsel, South Carolina Republican Party; Rob Tyson, legal counsel, South Carolina Republican Party; and Tyler Smith, legal counsel, Oregon Republican Party.


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