In his first book since being appointed to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch writes that the US is facing a “civility crisis” and that the president and Congress are both guilty of violating the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution.
The book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It”, has a title that reflects Benjamin Franklin’s reported reply as he left the Constitutional Convention in 1787. In it, Gorsuch describes his vision for the Supreme Court’s proper role: That judges should interpret the constitution according to its original meaning, and therefor overturn ObamaCare, slash abortion rights and bolster gun rights, according to Bloomberg.
Gorsuch also describes the run-up to his nomination. For example, he and his wife caught their flight to Washington after a neighbor drove them down a bumpy farm track so they wouldn’t be spotted by reporters staking out the family house in Colorado.
The Justice said the drive left a lasting impression on him.
“That drive threw me face first into the topsy-turvy world of modern-day Supreme Court confirmation battles,” Gorsuch writes in the 323-page book, officially released Tuesday. He was confirmed on a 54-45 vote, with only three Democrats voting in favor.
Notably, Gorsuch’s book makes only passing reference to President Trump, even though the president is often blamed for “coarsening” the public discourse.
But he does point to surveys showing that “incivility” is broadly deterring Americans from dedicating themselves to public service.
“Without civility, the bonds of friendship in our communities dissolve, tolerance dissipates, and the pressure to impose order and uniformity through public and private coercion mounts,” Gorsuch, 52, writes.
Gorsuch also lamented the fact that the executive branch and legislative branch had grown beyond their proper spheres.
“The framers firmly believed that the rule of law depends on keeping all three governmental powers in their proper spheres,” Gorsuch writes.
Gorsuch also complains about more “niche” issues, like the rising cost and complexity of the US legal system.
“Our civil justice system is too expensive for most to afford; our criminal code is too long for most to comprehend; and our legal education system is too monolithic to allow lawyers to serve clients as affordably and well as we might,” he writes.
The rest of the book, which was co-authored by two of the justice’s former law clerks, is a compilation of the Justice’s speeches and court opinions. But the book also includes newly written original sections.