Judge John Kane on Supreme Court Nominee, 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch
February 28, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Ed. Note: Colorado Senior District Court Judge John Kane was asked his thoughts about Tenth Circuit Judge and Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
I read a great many appellate opinions and I think Judge Gorsuch writes better than any other. His opinions, concurrences and dissents are clear, cogent and mercifully to the point. I have been affirmed and reversed by him and in each instance I thought he was right and fair.
Unlike some appellate opinions, his do not set up straw men and knock them down. In other words, he states each position as forcefully and intelligently as possible and then rules on the basis of analysis. He doesn’t take cheap shots and he doesn’t engage in in personam drivel.
Long ago I gave up trying to find any meaning in the words “liberal” and “conservative.” They seem to mean whatever the user wants them to mean. I won’t engage in that silly exercise with respect to any judge. I do know Judge Gorsuch’s writings indicate a strong respect for tradition and precedent and I don’t find his decisions reflecting any sort of ideological bias.
I know he is collegial, listens attentively and respects other’s opinions. What I also note is an absence of hubris, which makes him somewhat unusual. My readings suggest to me that he is very concerned with the separation of powers and thinks legislation belongs to the legislature and adjudication belongs to the judiciary. Some indication is present that he thinks there is far too much adjudicative activity in the executive branch’s administrative agency rulings and he has questioned the Chevron doctrine. Perhaps because I agree with that view, I am very comfortable with his nomination.
As the saying goes, we could do worse. A hell of a lot worse. I’m not sure we could expect better, or that better presently exists.