Letters to the Editor: Neil Gorsuch’s ‘originalism’ is perfect for 18th century America

Neil Gorsuch and Donald Trump
President Trump introduces Neil M. Gorsuch at the White House after announcing Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court on Jan. 31, 2017.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

To the editor: The profile of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch is informative and well written, but it comes across as supportive of his quaint view of “originalism” in constitutional law.

The Constitution was written in the context of 18th century America. It was a place where white men ruled, African Americans were slaves, and many poor Europeans were indentured servants. If we adhere to the original intent of the Constitution, real freedom is allotted only to white men.

Our thinking has advanced. We now hold that people of all genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations are created equal. That is not originalism; it is progress in human society. That is what a liberal judge stands for. It is what America stands for.


The age of ignorance and superstition is receding. That is a good thing, not a miscarriage of justice.

Paul Moser, Palm Desert


To the editor: It is puzzling for the layman to read of Gorsuch’s adherence to originalism. Can he deny that times have changed since 1787? And, if the original meaning is sacred, why do we have 27 amendments to the Constitution?

Not every judge in every situation agrees with each other. Each strives for justice and compliance with the laws as written, but it is ludicrous to think that the progress of time has not made some laws inadequate.

There is “often not a single right answer,” Gorsuch is quoted as saying. “It requires judgment.” He went on to say that “justices should start with the best understanding of the Constitution’s words.”

Certainly, but here is where I see contradiction in being so rigid in original meaning: If there is not a single right answer and an understanding of words leads to interpretation, isn’t he actually saying that the Constitution is indeed a “living document”?

Diane Welch, Cypress


To the editor: Gorsuch misconstrues the framers’ intent.

As a Supreme Court justice he has surely read the Federalist Papers, commentary that expands interpretation of the Constitution. Written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, the Federalist Papers examine, explore and open up the Constitution to interpretation by future generations.

“Original meaning” has no place in their lexicon.

Michael Halperin, Encino