The Rushmore Report: The Faith of Judge Neil Gorsuch

President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch as the newest member of the United States Supreme Court. There are five things to know about his faith.

1. Gorsuch was raised Catholic, and is now Episcopalian.

He studied at the Jesuit-run Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland, while his mother, Anne Gorsuch, served as President Reagan’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. After college and law school, he clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is Catholic. Gorsuch, his wife, and two daughters now attend St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado.

2. The judge has supported religious groups against the U.S. government.

Two major religious liberty cases wound up before Denver’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where Gorsuch has served since 2006: The Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, and Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. In both cases, religious organizations – a Catholic order of nuns and the evangelical owners of a craft store chain – sought exemptions from providing birth control under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. “All of us face the problem of complicity,” he wrote in support of Hobby Lobby. Government should not force those with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to comply with “conduct their religion teaches them to be gravely wrong.” The Supreme Court upheld his ruling in a 5-4 decision in 2014.

3. Gorsuch opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Revealing views that are consistent with those of most Christian denominations, Judge Gorsuch wrote a book titled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, in which he argued for maintaining laws against assisted suicide and euthanasia.

4. Gorsuch has not ruled in an abortion-related case.

Though he has not ruled in such a case yet, he is lauded by many conservative religious people and groups who seek the overturning of Roe v. Wade because of how he wrote about the value of life in his book. He wrote, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” He continued, “The law doesn’t just apply to protect popular religious beliefs; it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs, vindicating this nation’s long-held aspiration to serve as a refuge of religious tolerance.”

5. Judge Gorsuch reminds many of Antonin Scalia, a committed Catholic.

University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau told The Denver Post that Gorsuch would be Scalia’s “intellectual equal and almost certainly his equal on conservative jurisprudential approaches to criminal justice and social justice issues that are bound to keep coming up in the country.”

About the Author

Kimberly Winston writes for the Religion News Service. Based in San Francisco. She does freelance work on atheism and evidence for Christ as the Messiah. Winston is a committed follower of Christ and student of the Scriptures.

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