Some Supreme Court justices stand taller in our memories than others, due to both their influential (or incendiary) opinions, and the public role they take on as Supreme Court justice. Antonin Scalia, one of the most well-known Justices in modern memory, died suddenly on February 13, 2016, leaving a long and controversial legacy. The first Supreme Court vacancy overseen by the Trump administration led to the nomination, and later, confirmation of Neil McGill Gorsuch of Colorado, then 49 years old. Far from a household name, much remains unknown about Gorsuch and the justice he will become. In Gorsuch, a new biography by journalist John Greenya, readers learn more about our newest justice, if not his jurisprudence.
A relatively slim volume, at about 200 pages, Greenya’s book explores Gorsuch’s early years, career progression, and confirmation process. The reader learns about his formative experiences growing up in Colorado, and his experience as the son of a former EPA-head (Anne Gorsuch). The recollections of his classmates at Harvard Law School are interesting as well, with most describing him as a thoughtful conservative, graduating at the top of his class along with Barack Obama in 1991. Later chapters discuss his clerking experience with Justice Anthony Kennedy (though he was hired by a retiring Justice White), years in private practice, and his stint at the DOJ before appointment to the federal bench.
Gorsuch’s stance on abortion and the future of Roe v. Wade is discussed throughout the book, with friends and colleagues opining on how his appointment to the Supreme Court may affect abortion rights. The book finishes with a discussion of his major opinions as a federal judge, and a detailed account of his Senate Confirmation Hearings. All in all, Gorsuch provides a good overview for anyone interested in a not-so-well-known Supreme Court justice.