Justice Scalia’s Actual and Ideological Replacement: Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch Nominated to United States Supreme Court

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Justice Scalia’s Actual and Ideological Replacement: Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch Nominated to United States Supreme Court

 By: The Saqui Law Group

President Donald Trump has selected Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.  Should Judge Gorsuch pass confirmation (which is expected), he will fill the year-long vacancy that has existed since the passing of Justice Scalia in February 2016.  

Judge Gorsuch, 49, has served on the Tenth Circuit since 2006, and was a former United States Supreme Court clerk.  Judge Gorsuch is most frequently compared to Justice Scalia, both for his intelligence, sharp, conversational writing style, and belief that judges should follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution.

Judge Gorsuch’s record indicates he is favorable to businesses.  In the Tenth Circuit’s 2013 decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court, the Court held that Hobby Lobby could not be required to maintain health insurance that included coverage of contraception when it went against the retail store’s religious beliefs.   Judge Gorsuch stressed that the Court had no right to question Hobby Lobby’s owners’ views on their faith’s requirements. 

Also of significance, in 2016 Judge Gorsuch disagreed with two of his colleagues over a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) rule governing how back pay should be calculated when an employer unlawfully reduces a unionized employee’s hours.  Judge Gorsuch, in his dissent, pointed out that it is inconsistent to reduce back pay for interim earnings in cases involving terminations but not in cases where hours are cut and concluded that interim earnings should be allowed to reduce an award in both instances. 

That same year Judge Gorsuch also issued a decision criticizing the decades-long requirement that courts favor administrative agencies’ interpretations of statutes.  Eliminating this requirement would significantly impact the power of all administrative agencies, including the Department of Labor, the EEOC and OSHA, to name a few, by putting agencies and employers on a level playing field. 


By nominating Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump has fulfilled another one of his campaign promises by selecting a well-respected conservative nominee in the mold of Justice Scalia.  Most importantly, Judge Gorsuch’s elevation to the Supreme Court will bring a halt to the gridlock caused by Justice Scalia’s death and is a step in the right direction for employers who have felt constantly under siege during the prior administration.  If you have questions regarding how the Judge Gorsuch’s nomination may affect your company, please feel free to contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.


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