President Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he wanted to appoint judges in the mold of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It was a scary prospect to progressives and moderates alike, as Scalia went far right plenty and was anything but a friend to the LGBTQ community.
Gorsuch admired Scalia, as is evidenced in a memorial lecture he gave in the man’s honor. Not only did he sing Scalia’s praises, as is to be expected in such a speech, but he also showed that his concept of how a judge should interpret the law and deliver rulings was similar to that of the late justice.
As if that weren’t frightening enough for progressives, it seems from his recent decisions that Gorsuch might end up being an even more conservative justice than was Scalia.
The Supreme Court said on Monday it would take up a case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage. Colorado offers protections for LGBTQ people, meaning the baker was penalized in spite of claiming the act would go against his religious beliefs. As Think Progress notes, this could mean Gorsuch is to the right of Scalia on this issue, which many see as offering businesses and other establishments a license to discriminate.
“We cannot know for sure whether Gorsuch voted to take up this case — but it is notable that the Court decided not to consider this issue when Justice Antonin Scalia was still alive, ThinkProgress notes.
Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion in a case granting the right of same-sex parents in Arkansas to have both of their names on their children’s birth certificate, wherein he argued that, “Nothing in Obergefell indicates that a birth registration regime based on biology…offends the Constitution…Neither does anything in today’s opinion purport to identify any constitutional problem with a biology based birth registration regime.”
Gorsuch also backed Trump’s travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries, as well as another “religious freedom” case stating taxpayer funds could go to a school run by a church looking to build a playground.
In both of those cases, the Supreme Court ruled as Gorusch did, allowing Trump’s travel ban to take partial effect while we await a hearing, and clearing a path for a dismantling of the separation of church and state by, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor said from the bench, “profoundly” changing the relationship between church and state “by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church.”
As FiveThirtyEight reports, Gorsuch has voted in line with the court’s most conservative justice, Justice Clarence Thomas, 100 percent of the time in the 15 cases he has weighed in on so far. He has also joined every concurring opinion issued by Thomas thus far, meaning he not only agrees with Thomas on the outcomes but on the reasoning used to reach those conclusions.
Politico has published a piece outlining the Democrats reactions to Gorsuch’s voting record during his still nascent Supreme Court career, and needless to say, they aren’t pleased.
Any hope that he might not be as conservative as feared has left Washington.
Now the best the left can hope for is that Justice Anthony Kennedy keeps making liars of those who keep claiming he is retiring any day now, while they try to keep out thoughts of how Merrick Garland would have ruled in these cases.