Everything they feared and more

The Left is freaked out by the staunch legal conservatism of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch:

On Monday, Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed himself to be everything that liberals had most feared: pro-gun, pro–travel ban, anti-gay, anti–church/state separation. He is certainly more conservative than Justice Samuel Alito and possibly to the right of Justice Clarence Thomas. He is an uncompromising reactionary and an unmitigated disaster for the progressive constitutional project. And he will likely serve on the court for at least three more decades.

Although Gorsuch has barely been on the bench for two months, he has already had an opportunity to weigh in on some of the most pressing constitutional issues of our time. In each case, he has chosen the most conservative position. On Monday, Gorsuch indicated that he opposes equal rights for same-sex couples, dissenting from a ruling that requires states to list same-sex parents on birth certificates. (Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined his dissent.) That, alone, is startling: In Obergefell v. Hodges, the court held that the Constitution compels states to grant same-sex couples “the constellation” of “rights, benefits, and responsibilities” that “the states have linked to marriage,” including “birth and death certificates.” Obergefell, then, already settled this issue. Gorsuch’s dissent suggests he may not accept Obergefell as settled law and may instead seek to undermine or reverse it.

Gorsuch also joined Thomas in dissenting from the court’s refusal to review a challenge to California’s concealed carry laws. California grants concealed carry permits for “good cause”—namely, a “particularized need, substantiated by documentary evidence, to carry a firearm for self-defense.” Gun advocates challenged this rule, alleging a violation of the Second Amendment. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the California regime, and on Monday, the court declined to reconsider its decision. Thomas and Gorsuch dissented vociferously, essentially declaring that the Second Amendment grants individuals a right to carry loaded firearms in public. Not even the archconservative Alito joined their bizarre opinion. It appears Gorsuch is eager to strike down almost any law that limits the right “to keep and bear arms” in any way. If adopted by the court, Gorsuch’s theory would effectively bar state and local governments from passing almost any kind of gun safety legislation.

Conservatives used to say that the only thing that mattered about presidential elections was the Supreme Court. Well, by that standard, the God-Emperor is already the greatest conservative president of the post-WWII era. We’ll have to see how his future appointments shake out, but at 1-0, he’s already doing better than Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush the Elder, or Bush the Younger.