Liberal Law Professor: Washington Liberals Owe Gorsuch ‘An Apology’

'Like his predecessor Antonin Scalia, he has shown a sense of his own "true north" judicial compass'

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks as President Donald Trump looks on
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks as President Donald Trump looks on / Getty Images

Prominent legal commentator and law professor Jonathan Turley wrote an op-ed Tuesday calling on his fellow liberals to apologize for their previous treatment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Turley was one of the few liberal commentators who supported Gorsuch's 2017 nomination to the Supreme Court. "I do not agree with all of Judge Gorsuch's legal views, but I believe him to be an exceptional choice for the Supreme Court and someone who will bring intellectual depth and vigor to our highest court," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a written statement.

In his op-ed for The Hill, Turley took something of a victory lap, noting that Gorsuch has accumulated a centrist record on the court by siding with liberals on key decisions on criminal defendant rights, tribal rights, and obscene trademarks. To date, Gorsuch has actually sided more times in judgement with liberal Justice Elena Kagan than he has newly minted conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"He remains a conservative justice but, like his predecessor Antonin Scalia, he has shown a sense of his own ‘true north' judicial compass. In doing so, he has often made both the left and right of the Supreme Court seem shallow and predictable in their rigidity," Turley argued.

"I am certain of one thing, which is that Gorsuch deserves an apology. Many liberal advocates lambasted him despite his stellar reputation as an appellate judge. His actual record was irrelevant to them, and it likely will mean little to them that Gorsuch has now shown more flexibility than certain members in the left wing of the Supreme Court."

"I told the Senate, ‘I can say where Gorsuch is going. He will go wherever his conscience takes him, regardless of whether it proves a track to the left or the right,'" Turley wrote. "That is precisely where Gorsuch has ended up. He is moving on his own track."