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Gorsuch is already pushing Supreme Court to the right on religion, guns and gays

Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

When Judge Neil M. Gorsuch went before the Senate in March as President Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, he sought to assure senators he would be independent and above the political fray.

“There is no such thing as a Republican judge or Democratic judge,” he said more than once. “We just have judges.”

But in just his first few weeks on the high court, Justice Gorsuch has shown himself to be a confident conservative activist, urging his colleagues to move the law to the right on religion, gun rights, gay rights and campaign funding.

He dissented along with Justice Clarence Thomas when the court rejected a gun-rights challenge to California’s law that strictly regulates who may carry a concealed weapon. “The 2nd Amendment’s core purpose,” they said, shows “the right to bear arms extends to public carry.”

He wrote a dissent, joined by Thomas and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., when the court struck down part of an Arkansas law that gave opposite sex-couples, but not same-sex couples, the right to have both spouses listed on a child’s birth certificate. The court said it had already decided that same-sex couples deserve fully equal rights under state law.

And when Trump’s travel ban came before the court this week, Gorsuch dissented from the majority’s middle-ground approach, which allowed the ban to take effect except for foreign travelers who had a relationship with this country, such as a close relative or a student enrolled in a university.

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