WASHINGTON — Discussion is stirring over how Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch might rule on issues such as homosexuality and abortion should he be confirmed. His former law clerk told reporters last week that Gorsuch was supportive of his “gay marriage,” but reports also note that Gorsuch outlined over a decade ago that he does not believe the courts are the place to effect social change.
Joshua Goodbaum served as a clerk for Gorsuch in 2009, and now works as an attorney. He told Reuters on Friday that on the week of his 2014 “wedding” with his partner, Gorsuch expressed his support.
“He said, ‘This is a wonderful thing. You’ll see how your relationship grows,'” Goodbaum recalled.
“I have never felt the least whiff from him of homophobia or intolerance toward gay people,” he added.
As previously reported, Gorsuch is an Episcopalian, and attends St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado. St. John’s identifies itself as “inclusive” on its website and is led by female minister Susan Springer. All of its deacons are also female.
In 2013, Springer expressed her support for same-sex “marriage.”
“I don’t think anybody in my faith tradition is out to destroy marriage between a man and a woman,” she told the Daily Camera. “I think we are out to find a way to offer the same blessing and the same sense of inclusion to same-sex couples. And I think we stand as prophetic witness, that same-sex couples ought to enjoy the same legal benefits, if you will, as heterosexual couples.”
However, in 2005, Gorsuch penned an article for the National Review, where he opined that issues such as same-sex nuptials and others should be battled in the ballot box rather than in the courts.
He pointed to the writings of Washington Post columnist David von Drehle, who remarked that pushing agendas through the court system damages progressive purposes. Gorsuch said that liberals would do well to heed those sentiments.
“von Drehle recognizes that American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education,” he wrote.
“Liberals may win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts. But in failing to reach out and persuade the public generally, they invite exactly the sort of backlash we saw in November when gay marriage was rejected in all eleven states where it was on the ballot,” Gorsuch noted.
He reiterated that letting the American people sort out matters in elections is the best way to solve social arguments rather than placing issues in the hands of judges.
“During the New Deal, liberals recognized that the ballot box and elected branches are generally the appropriate engines of social reform, and liberals used both to spectacular effect—instituting profound social changes that remain deeply ingrained in society today,” Gorsuch wrote. “It would be a very good thing for all involved—the country, an independent judiciary, and the Left itself—if liberals take a page from David von Drehle and their own judges of the New Deal era, kick their addiction to constitutional litigation, and return to their New Deal roots of trying to win elections rather than lawsuits.”
But Gorsusch has weighed in on social issues at times. As previously reported, Gorsuch is the author of the book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” in which he concludes that “human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong.”
Gorsuch is also known for ruling in favor of the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby, which had sued the Obama administration over its abortion pill mandate. The company had sued to retain the right not to cover contraceptives that it considers to be abortifacients, such as the morning-after pill. Gorsuch pointed to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in his ruling.
“It is not for secular courts to rewrite the religious complaint of a faithful adherent, or to decide whether a religious teaching about complicity imposes ‘too much’ moral disapproval on those only ‘indirectly’ assisting wrongful conduct,” he wrote in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. “Whether an act of complicity is or isn’t ‘too attenuated’ from the underlying wrong is sometimes itself a matter of faith we must respect.”
Gorsuch was likewise a part of a ruling in favor of the Roman Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor, which had also sued the Obama administration over the abortion pill mandate.
Gorsuch is stated as being much like the late Antonin Scalia in that he is an originalist, that is, he seeks to interpret the Constitution in the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Scalia, however, noted during his tenure that he opposes both the complete abolition of abortion, as well as requiring legalization. He said that the Constitution does not require a state to ban abortion as he believes the 14th Amendment only applies to those who have been born.
“I will strike down Roe v. Wade, but I will also strike down a law that is the opposite of Roe v. Wade,” Scalia outlined in a 2002 Pew Forum. “You know, both sides in that debate want the Supreme Court to decide the matter for them. One [side] wants no state to be able to prohibit abortion and the other one wants every state to have to prohibit abortion, and they’re both wrong.”
“And indeed, there are anti-abortion people who think that the Constitution requires a state to prohibit abortion. They say that the equal protection clause requires that you treat a helpless human being that’s still in the womb the way you treat other human beings. I think that’s wrong,” Scalia further explained in a 2008 60 Minutes interview. “I think when the Constitution says that persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws, I think it clearly means walking-around persons.”
The Trump administration, while identifying as pro-life with exceptions, has also expressed its support for the homosexual agenda. As previously reported, during his RNC acceptance speech in July, Trump told those gathered that he would work to protect homosexuals if elected.
“As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” he declared, being met with applause.
“And, I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said,” he said in response.
Trump had also declared at a fundraiser in June that he is the best candidate for the “gay community.”
“So you tell me, who’s better for the gay community, and who’s better for women than Donald Trump? Believe me!” he said.
In February, he replied in the affirmative when asked by a lesbian reporter if the nation can expect “more forward motion” on homosexual issues if elected president.