WASHINGTON – Few individuals over the last century have impacted the American legal discourse as profoundly as the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In the wake of his untimely passing last February, this lion of the law left behind a legacy of faithfully applying the law and upholding the principles enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution.
Filling the vacancy of such a consequential figure amplifies the critical responsibility of the United States Senate of confirming his replacement; a decision informed by the people of West Virginia last November with the election of Donald Trump.
During the campaign, the president put forward a list of prospective nominees and pledged to select an exceptionally qualified individual who faithfully abides by the text of our Constitution much to the same degree as Justice Scalia. He has delivered on that promise.
A man of impeccable credentials, universal admiration and traditional legal values, Judge Neil Gorsuch has consistently employed the same principled approach to interpreting the law as the man he has been nominated to replace.
Throughout his distinguished career, Judge Gorsuch has developed a reputation for impartially rendering legal decisions that support the basic tenets of the Constitution.
He recognizes the value of judicial restraint and upholding the letter of the law over personal beliefs. As he reiterated at his nomination press conference last month, “a judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels.”
Judge Gorsuch understands that the protections set forth in our Constitution, including the separation of powers, federalism and the Bill of Rights, provide Americans with an indispensable safeguard against government overreach.
Judge Gorsuch is truly a judge’s judge. After attending Harvard Law School as a Truman Scholar, he developed extensive trial and appellate litigation experience over the next two decades as Principle Deputy Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice, partner at a private law firm, and clerk for two justices of the Supreme Court.
Upon his nomination to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bush in 2006, the American Bar Association lauded Judge Gorsuch as “universally well qualified” for the position. Congress agreed. In an era where bipartisan consensus in Washington has become an increasingly scarce commodity, Judge Gorsuch received unanimous support from the United States Senate, garnering the approval of 11 Democrats still serving today, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
After having the opportunity to meet with Judge Gorsuch in my office, I am confident that he possesses both the proper temperament and analytical approach needed to decide the fundamental legal issues facing today’s Supreme Court.
His past opinions demonstrate that he will honor constitutional protections afforded through due process, the right to bear arms, equal protection under the law and religious freedom.
It is clear to me through both our conversation and thorough examination of his record that Judge Gorsuch will decide cases fairly based on our Constitution and laws. That is just what West Virginians expect from a Supreme Court justice.
The nomination of Judge Gorsuch has been a genuinely collaborative and transparent process. The American people were given a chance to review the president’s list of nominees, after thorough vetting by his staff and members of Congress, and now his choice is awaiting consideration by the United States Senate.
We have been presented with an eminently qualified nominee who deserves a fair hearing, and ultimately, the support of each of my colleagues. I will vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch as a worthy successor to Justice Scalia.
Capito, a Republican, is West Virginia's junior U.S. Senator.