BLOGThe Weekly Digest: 3-22-17

By James Arnold Posted on: | March 22, 2017
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On to the news.

 

Judge Gorsuch Nomination Hearing This Week: What You Need to Know

 

Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch.

President Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch who will, if confirmed, take the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia who died just over a year ago.

Here's what you need to know about Judge Gorsuch.

We'll start with Judge Gorsuch's experience with religious freedom. ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael P. Farris, alongside ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, gives us the breakdown:

"Given Judge Gorsuch’s extensive experience as a judicial law clerk and as a federal judge, he is no stranger to the legal issues that ADF litigates. In particular, he has decided many cases involving religious freedom.

"ADF represented numerous clients challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate. In those cases, we defended businesses and nonprofit religious organizations that could not in good conscience fund (or allow the government to use their insurance plans to fund) abortion-inducing drugs. In the most notable of those cases, ADF defended Conestoga Wood Specialties before the Supreme Court, and ultimately prevailed in a significant win for religious freedom.

"Judge Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion in a case that upheld a similar religious-freedom claim raised by the owners of Hobby Lobby Stores. In that opinion, he recognized that the owners objected to 'personal involvement in facilitating access to devices and drugs that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.'

"Disagreeing with his fellow judges who would deny the owners’ right to live consistently with their faith, Judge Gorsuch wrote that 'it is not for secular courts to rewrite the religious complaint of a faithful adherent' or to question the reasonableness of their convictions. A conscientious objection, Judge Gorsuch said, is 'a matter of faith [judges] must respect.'"

In addition to religious freedom, expect the confirmation hearing to include questions about physician-assisted suicide. Judge Gorsuch, after all, has written a book about the subject.

Here's what Gorsuch wrote in his book, per CNN:

"To claim that human life qualifies as a basic good is to claim that its value is not instrumental, not dependent on any other condition or reason, but something intrinsically good in and of itself. We seek to protect and preserve life for life's own sake in everything from our most fundamental laws of homicide to our road traffic regulations to our largest governmental programs for health and social security."

If you want to read more about Judge Gorsuch's book and his views on physician-assisted suicide, check out this post from Public Discourse.

Of course, the timing of Judge Gorsuch's confirmation could impact a number of cases currently before the Supreme Court, not the least of which is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, the playground case we told you about last week.  The hearings are expected to last several days, and Judge Gorsuch may be confirmed by early April. If that happens, then Judge Gorsuch would be on the bench when Trinity Lutheran is argued on April 19.

 
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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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