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General News

President Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court

Today, President Donald J. Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch comes after a selection process marked by an unprecedented level of transparency and involvement by the American voters. White House News Release

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Trump picks Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS nomination. May not be a bad pick, could have been a lot worse. It was better than many of his Cabinet picks.

From Washington Post: “Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism — meaning that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as they were understood at the time they were written — and a textualist who considers only the words of the law being reviewed, not legislators’ intent or the consequences of the decision”.

Lake, if he follows those paths, we might do alright. Maybe even witness the demise of the a Registries.

Here is an analysis of Gorsuch by legal affairs writer Damon Root for the libertarian Reason magazine.

At first blush, Gorsuch seems like a “middling” candidate. Could be better, could be worse. I’m concerned for his disregard for unenumerated rights and devotion to textualism. Sounds like Scalia.

“Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court”

We’ll see if he gets in. That’ll be the issue with a constitutionalists. So many crooked big government subversives on both sides of the isle that making actual constitutional change to correct the bad policy is almost impossible.

What is interesting of Gorsuch is that he clerked for Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, of course, introduced the notion that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is “frightening and high.” It’s common thought (though with probably many exceptions) that SCOTUS clerks often reflect the jurisprudence of the judges for whom they clerk for.

I sure hope that this will not be the case with Gorsuch (if he is confirmed).


Unfortunately, Neil Gorsuch was not in the panel of judges in the article (and case) that you cite. Yes, Gorsuch is a justice on the 10th Circuit. But he was not among the three judges in United States v. Von Behren. The three judges in Von Behren were Mary Briscoe, Stephanie Seymour, and Carlos Lucero. Gorsuch was NOT in the panel. In fact, I was unable to find a case in which Gorsuch has ever ruled in favor of a sex offender. (The one possible exception was United States v. Hinckley, 550 F.3d 926 (10th Cir. 2008) [], in which Gorsuch found SORNA in possible violation of the nondelegation doctorine; but Gorsuch still concurred in favor of the government.)

So no. Gorsuch — at least based on my research — has never definitively ruled in favor of a sex offender while in the 10th Circuit. All of Gorsuch’s opinions have been against sex offenders.


And yet another:

“Gorsuch strongly objected to how much regulatory power a federal statute — the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) — gave to the Justice Department to apply its rules to those guilty of sex crimes predating the act’s enactment.
In his words, “the framers of the Constitution thought the compartmentalization of legislative power not just a tool of good government or necessary to protect the authority of Congress from encroachment by the Executive but essential to the preservation of the people’s liberty …”


As I cited below, it’s strange that in United States v. Nichols, Gorsuch dissented “from the denial of rehearing en banc” because he thought that SORNA violated the nondelegation doctrine. Yet in United States v. Hinckley, 550 F.3d 926 (10th Cir. 2008), Gorsuch mentioned that SORNA *may* have been in violation of the “nondelegation doctorine.”

Yet ultimately, in Hinckley, Gorsuch opined in favor of the government (i.e. against the registrant).

The question for us is: When it matters, will Gorsuch rule in favor for us?

I stand corrected. Gorsuch “dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc” in Nichols does seem like an exception. (He does seem to be a big fan of applying the ‘nondelegation doctorine’ when it comes to SORNA. Though his ultimate stance [concurrence for the government] in Hinckley, id., does have me questioning whether Gorsuch has the courage to find in favor of a registrant when it comes time.)

The New Supreme Court Nominee, Niel Gorsch, was on the panel in Doe v. Shurtleff, which concluded that the secondary effects of constitutional speech (i.e., the “high and frightening” sexual recidivism and vulnerability of minors on the internet) of sex offenders, gave the State of Utah a rational basis for requiring the disclosure of internet identifiers.

Note, that SCOTUS law regarding the secondary effects doctrine was in regard to zoning laws (adult stores increasing crimes rate and thus being zoned out), and was never meant to being applied to pure First Amendment speech cases – but it was applied so in Doe v. Shurtleff.

If he sits on the Court in time to vote on Packingham, I am positive we will lose the case.

He is only an “Orginalist,” if it doesn’t come to sex offenders.

Gorsuch will be the justice, but how long it will take to confirm him may be key; in particular, whether there are enough Democrats who will vote to confirm to prevent the filibuster and bring the full senate vote quicker. Packingham will be heard on the 27th, a little under four weeks from now. Most analysts are saying that Gorsuch won’t be confirmed until March, particularly with the explosive differences between the parties and the series of hearings that they will undoubtedly extend as long as possible, and the inevitable “nuclear option” the GOP will use to ensure the confirmation.

That said, someone may have to answer this for me as I can’t find any information, but if Gorsach is confirmed and seated after the case is heard in court on the 27th, but before deliberations are complete, can he still listen to audio transcripts of the case and render a decision in that manner? Keep in mind that in normal circumstances, it only takes a quorum of six justices to officially hear the case, and absent justices can then use those transcripts, but my assumption is that the justices were already seated when the case were heard.

I hope the last part of this statement is true.

“It would be a mistake to assume that Gorsuch would always rule the same way as Scalia. He may be more willing than Scalia was to rein in administrative agencies. He has called into question Supreme Court precedents that command judicial deference to the legal interpretations of those agencies. He has been skeptical, as well, of agencies that purport to apply regulations retroactively.”

Read more at:

“Gorsuch has voted to enforce the Fourth Amendment in favor of the most unsympathetic defendants.
He concurred in United States v. Krueger in 2015, concluding that officers violated the Fourth
Amendment while searching a suspect’s home in Kansas for evidence of distribution of child pornography. A magistrate in Oklahoma, Gorsuch held, invoking the original understanding of the
Fourth Amendment, didn’t have authority to issue a warrant for the search of a home in Kansas. And siding with the defendant in another child pornography case, United States v. Ackerman in
2016, Gorsuch held that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s search of a suspect’s private e-mails implicated the Fourth Amendment, because the center was acting like a government agent when it conducted the search. Gorsuch’s willingness to side, twice, with suspected child pornographers is vivid evidence of his willingness to enforce the Fourth Amendment wherever it leads.”

Here is a fairly good list of Gorsuch’s decisions while on the 10th Circuit compiled by researchers at Several of the decisions deal directly with SORNA and sex offenders.

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