Neil Gorsuch: America faces a 'challenge in civic understanding'
America faces challenges when it comes to understanding what judges' true roles are and what the Constitution does or doesn't protect. So said Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
As a result, jurists are too often assumed to be partisan depending on their rulings, Gorsuch said Tuesday on "The Story."
"I think during the confirmation process, one of the things that struck me is that there are some challenges that we face today in civic understanding about our Constitution, and some of the freedoms and protections it provides," he said.
Gorsuch said he found about one-third of Americans can name all three branches of government, another third can name a single branch and a small percentage of people believe TV star "Judge Judy" is on the Supreme Court with him.
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"I'm an admirer, but she's not one of my colleagues," he remarked.
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"We stopped teaching civics in our classrooms -- and civility along with it."
In response, host Martha MacCallum asked if Gorsuch believes President Trump could be to blame for some of the lack of civility, as some critics of the president claim.
"I leave politics to the political branches," he responded.
Later in the interview, MacCallum asked whether he was surprised he and fellow Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh reportedly rule differently on more cases than any two justices named to the bench by the same president since former President John F. Kennedy.
"Imagine that, we're not nine robots, we're nine judges," he said.
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The 52-year-old Colorado native added as an "unabashed, unafraid originalist" judge, he sometimes rules in ways he personally may not agree with.
"Half the time I go home at night thinking what I've had to do I didn't like or found troubling, but it's something the law compelled," he said, adding people too often assume that if a jurist rules a certain way they must, "like that person or that policy -- or dislike the other person who lost."
"I'm an originalist. An unabashed, unafraid originalist. Originalism is all about protecting ... the original structure of the Constitution."
In that regard, MacCallum noted that view is not very different than the late former Justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch replaced on the bench.