Ever since he was announced as President Donald Trump’s pick for the next Supreme Court judge, liberals and progressives have worried whether Neil Gorsuch would be as bad as Trump’s other recruits. It would seem that this fear is entirely justified. While Gorsuch presents himself as a reasonable and judicious man, his charms do not override his very right-wing positions on a number of important topics.
His presence on the Supreme Court is likely to help push through conservative legislation. He is strongly in favor of gun rights and against gay rights. He approves of Trump’s travel ban, and he disapproves of the separation of church and state. There is little doubt that these strong opinions will have some influence over the decisions that he makes as a Supreme Court justice. What’s more, as he is fairly young and in good health, it is quite likely that he will remain in place for several decades.
Gorsuch is more conservative than fellow justice Samuel Alito, and he is at least as conservative as justice Clarence Thomas. All three of them voted against a bill that would require birth certificates to list the names of same-sex parents. Gorsuch also voted against a challenge to a law allowing residents of California to carry a concealed gun. This suggests that he is more concerned about the rights of gun owners than ordinary citizens who may be threatened by the presence of excessive guns in public places.
He has also sided with the idea that a state is being unconstitutional when it refuses to channel taxpayer funds into a church improvement project. This shows a disdain for the notion of separation of church and state. Finally, he stood in opposition to a compromise that would have allowed a more lenient version of President Trump’s travel ban. He supported the ban as it was already written, which does not bode well for his support of immigrants.
As he has only been in the job a short while, it is too soon to tell for sure how Gorsuch’s term as Supreme Court justice will play out. However, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that his decisions will tend strongly toward the conservative end of the spectrum.