Author Defends Gorsuch From Plagiarism Accusations

Neil Gorsuch / Getty Images
• April 5, 2017 2:03 pm


President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch was accused of plagiarizing parts of his 2006 book from a 1984 law review article by an Indiana lawyer without citing the source.

BuzzFeed and Politico both published articles late Tuesday night, just a few days before Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, highlighting various excerpts that Gorsuch allegedly plagiarized in his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.

The articles allege that Gorsuch lifted several passages from Abigail Lawlis Kuzma's 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal and used them nearly verbatim in the tenth chapter of his book. Politico also reported that Gorsuch parroted other writers' prose and used their primary sources in his citations versus citing them.

"In the most striking example, Gorsuch, in his book, appears to duplicate sentences from an Indiana Law Journal article written by Abigail Lawlis Kuzma without attributing her. Instead, he uses the same sources that Kuzma used: A 1982 Indiana court ruling that was later sealed, a well-known pediatrics textbook, ‘Rudolph’s Pediatrics,' and a 1983 article in the Bloomington Sunday Herald," Politico reported.

Both articles showed various examples of Gorsuch's alleged plagiarizing, but were deemed unsubstantiated and "without foundation."

Kuzma, who authored the law journal article Gorsuch allegedly plagiarized, dismissed the allegations against Gorsuch:

"I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar," Kuzma stated. "These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the ‘Baby/Infant Doe' case that occurred in 1982. Given that these passages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language."

John Finnis, Emeritus professor of law at Oxford and Gorsuch's thesis supervisor for his his Oxford Doctoral Thesis, criticized the allegations and said they were not warranted.

"[I]n my opinion, none of the allegations has any substance or justification," Finnis said. "In all four cases, Neil Gorsuch’s writing and citing was easily and well within the proper and accepted standards of scholarly research and writing in the field of study in which he was working."

John Keown, a Rose F. Kennedy professor of Christian ethics at Georgetown University and outside examiner of Gorsuch's dissertation, also blasted the allegations.

"The allegation is entirely without foundation," Keown stated. "The book is meticulous in its citation of primary sources. The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is, frankly, absurd. Indeed, the book’s reliance on primary rather than secondary sources is one of its many strengths."

Robert George, the General Editor of New Forum Books, the Princeton University Press series that published Gorsuch’s book, called the allegations "politically motivated" and said that Democrats were trying to derail Gorsuch's confirmation:

"This is a politically motivated effort to smear him in the hope of derailing his confirmation as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Gorsuch did not attempt to steal other people’s intellectual property or pass off ideas or arguments taken from other writers as his own. In no case did he seek credit for insights or analysis that had been purloined. In short, not only is there no fire, there isn’t even any smoke."

Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court at the end of the week.