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Gorsuch: Scalia A ‘Lion of the Law’ – Judges Should Look to What Law Demands, Not What They Prefer

After the announcement of his nomination to the US Supreme Court on Tuesday, Judge Neil Gorsuch praised former Justice Antonin Scalia as a “lion of the law.” And stated, “it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”

Gorsuch said, “I pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country.”

Gorsuch then talked about his experience on the bench, saying that he’s been inspired by the judges he worked with who he has watched “fearlessly tending to the rule of law, enforcing the promises of our Constitution, and living out daily their judicial oaths to administer justice equally to rich and poor alike, following the law as they find it and without respect to their personal political beliefs. I think of them tonight. Of course, the Supreme Court’s work is vital not just to a region of the country, but to the whole, vital to the protection of people’s liberties under law, and to the continuity of our Constitution, the greatest charter of human liberty the world has ever known.”

He further said former Justices Antonin Scalia and Robert Jackson were “towering judges” and Scalia was “a lion of the law.” He also praised Justice Byron White, who he worked for, as “one of the smartest and most courageous men I’ve ever known.” Gorsuch also praised Justice Kennedy, who he clerked for, as a man who taught him “so much.”

Gorsuch further stated, “[W]hen we judges don our robes, it doesn’t make us any smarter, but it does serve as a reminder of what’s expected of us: impartiality and independence, collegiality, and courage. As this process now moves to the Senate, I look forward [to] speaking with members from both sides of the aisle, to answering their questions, and to hearing their concerns. I consider the United States Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world, and I respect the important role the constitution affords it in the confirmation of our judges. I respect, too, the fact that in our legal order, it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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