President Trump Announces Gorsuch as Supreme Court Nominee

On Tuesday, January 31, President Donald Trump announced that his choice for Supreme Court Nominee is Judge Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a federal appellate judge who currently serves on the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Paul Cambria, who has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, spoke to WBEN about this choice. The full interview is available on the WBEN website.

Could influence swing vote

Mr. Cambria told WBEN that the President’s choosing Gorsuch as his nominee is “interesting strategically.”

“The swing vote on the Court is Kennedy,” he explained, “and Gorsuch was his clerk, so the question is whether or not they think that he would have an influence on Kennedy—maybe to make him come to the conservative side on some of these votes where Kennedy’s vote decides the case. In addition, he hasn’t written at all on Roe v. Wade, so they can’t say that he’s for or against it based on something that he’s done in the past.”

Mr. Cambria went on to say that Gorsuch “really hasn’t written on guns, the Second Amendment sort of cases, although he’s such a conservative and an outdoorsman and all the rest of it, my guess is that he’s quite a gun advocate.”

Ideologically could be aligned with Scalia

When asked if he would compare Gorsuch to the late Justice Antonin Scalia in terms of where he falls on the political spectrum, Mr. Cambria responded, “I think that was the intent, as far as the President is concerned: to put someone in there like Scalia. He even had Scalia’s wife there when he made the announcement, so I think that’s clearly what it is.”

Mr. Cambria then explained that “sometimes there are surprises with Supreme Court Justices. They may be liberal, they may be conservative, but once they’re on the court they’re there forever and they don’t have to worry about job security, so sometimes they’re a surprise. So, I guess we’ll see what happens with him.”

History with Supreme Court Justices

WBEN pointed out that Gorsuch has a unique history with Supreme Court Justices, having clerked for both Justice Byron White, who served on the Court from 1962 to 1993, and current Justice Anthony Kennedy. “It is interesting,” Mr. Cambria agreed.

“White, also, was sort of a swing vote on certain cases and he could be unpredictable. There’s no question that Gorsuch ha the brainpower to be on that Court, but I think this demonstrates a lot of thought,” Mr. Cambria went on. “It shows insight as to trying to get someone approved but, in addition to that, have a conservative judge who might be able to change the course of the Court just by influencing somebody like Kennedy, who’s currently on the Court.”

Could cause controversy

Mr. Cambria told WBEN that Gorsuch is someone “who writes in language that can be understood not only by lawyers but by laypeople,” but that his opinions on religion and women’s rights may cause controversy.

“One history that he does have is that he appears to be in favor of independent religion,” he explained. “If you remember that Hobby Lobby case, his feeling on that case was that a company like that could deny birth control. The company would deny birth control medical insurance for their employees and he was in favor of that. So it shows that he’s on that side of religion. His history as far as women are concerned—women’s rights, obviously, would not be something the Democrats would find favorable.”

About Paul J. Cambria, Jr.

The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Cambria advises clients on criminal trials, criminal appeals, constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Buffalo and Los Angeles.