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Articles by Patrick Parenteau

Patrick Parenteau is a professor of law and senior counsel at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.

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In nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump said he was fulfilling a campaign promise “to select someone who respects our laws and … will interpret them as written,” in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In fact, Trump merely chose Gorsuch from a list of conservative judges vetted by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

It could have been worse — much worse. Some of the other names on Trump’s short list were downright scary. Like 11th Circuit Judge William Pryor, who called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” Or 6th Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge, who denied standing to the Sierra Club in an air pollution case by dismissing a prior circuit court decision as “a bottle of dubious vintage, whose contents turned to vinegar long ago, and which we need not consume here.”

Still, make no mistake: Judge Gorsuch, who sits on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, is a solidly conservative jurist who greatly admired Scalia. Like Scalia, he is a proponent of “originalism” — the idea that judges should interpret the words of the Constituti... Read more

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