WASHINGTON — Colorado's own Neil Gorsuch looked up to Justice Antonin Scalia. He's listened to Scalia's lectures, soaked in his teachings and his work reflects that. Those qualities are part of the reason Gorsuch is now nominated for a spot on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States.
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It's no secret that President Donald Trump has modeled some of his policies off of those made by President Ronald Reagan, and his campaign called back memories of the republican, who actually appointed Scalia in 1986.
Scalia, who was well respected, died in 2016. His legacy might live on in the highest court in the land through Donald Trump of all people, as Gorsuch is expected to be pushed through his nomination process.
Not long after Scalia's death, Gorsuch — who flew to Washington on the eve of Trump's final decision and was present for the 6 p.m. announcement Tuesday — wrote to the Case Western Reserve Law Review.
He expressed his sadness in learning of Scalia's death, surely not considering the fact that he could eventually fill that position.
"My phone rang with the news. I immediately lost what breath I had left, and I am not embarrassed to admit that I couldn't see the rest of the way down the mountain for the tears," Gorsuch wrote, remembering the soured ski trip he took in 2016.
He described Scalia as a "lion of the law" in describing the judge as docile in his private life, but ferocious when working for the American people.
"Volumes rightly will be written about his contributions to American law, on the bench and off," Gorsuch wrote.
Now that Gorsuch is slated to take the bench, his words are being dissected. His writing seemingly highlights his values, especially in the face of a tragedy.
"Throughout my decade on the bench, I have watched my colleagues strive day in and day out to do just as Socrates said we should—to hear courteously, answer wisely, consider soberly, and decide impartially," Gorsuch said.
Gorsuch's colleagues in Denver say his actions reflect those words, describing him as honest, witty and to the point.
Some of his colleagues say he won't reinvent the issues facing the court, noting he would consult the constitution word for word.
That is expected to reflect in his decisions, which have historically been conservative. He has expressed conservative opinions on the Affordable Care Act, religious liberty, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
George W. Bush specifically appointed Gorsuch to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006 because of his conservative views, and he’s continued to garner respect in that office.
Now nominated, Gorsuch is the youngest nominee in 25 years at 49-years-old, but his age isn't generally considered a problem.
Gorsuch's pedigree is groomed. He attended Harvard Law and has a Ph.D. from Oxford, and is viewed as a gifted writer.
Gorsuch lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.