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tv   Former Colleagues of Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Discuss His Career...  CSPAN  March 15, 2017 1:39pm-2:30pm EDT

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judge neil gorsuch hear him talk about his ideology. this is about an hour. >> good afternoon. welcome to the heritage foundation. for those in-house, we would ask that mobile devices have been silenced or turned off. and those watching online are welcome to send comments at any time by e-mail.
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lea leading our discussion, elizabeth slattery. she writes about the supreme court, separation of powers, judicial nominations, and constitutional issues. she also manages appellate programs to prepare for issues in the supreme court. elizabeth? >> thank you, john. president donald trump selected neil gorsuch to fill the supreme court slot vacated. and he's a thoughtful jurist that has an impressive judicial record and years of government
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service. but what kind of colleague, friend, and boss is judge gorsuch? we'll hear from a panel of clerks, but first, his former law partner and boss. mark hanson is a partner at a law firm with more than 30 years of experience. he's been the lead counsel in cases around the country. he's tried more than 30 cases to verdict, and has argued more than 20 appeals. he's a graduate of dartmouth college and harvard law school. plauz [ applause ] >> thank you very much.
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good afternoon, everybody. i wrote a title for my little talk today, it will be about 20 minutes. the title is, i knew him when. we all know the phenomenon of someone who emerges from obscurity, and the question is, who is this person? somebody who is nominated to the u.s. supreme court, all eyes turn to the early days, the little people, like me, who knew him when. the vignettes of what he was like before he became famous. we like to get a little bit of reflected glory. a friend of mine, a legal academic, argued a prominent
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case for the haitian refugees in front of the supreme court. and he was on the steps, and from stage right, this figure came striding towards him saying, i want to congratulate my good friend, worked so tirelessly, my brother, my friend, he leans close, he says, what's your name? [ laughter ] i know neil gorsuch, and i worked with him for a decade. we practiced civil trial law together, across the united states, in a variety of cases, and i'm happy to be able to tell you what that experience may suggest to you and to the public about what kind of supreme court justice he will be likely to be. unlike our president, who can't
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serve longer than eight years, neil gorsuch could be there for 40, 50 years. he's only 49 years old, and he's in great physical condition. do not let that gray hair dye fool you. obviously, the best clues for what kind of justice neil gorsuch will be are in the 800 opinions he's published as a judge for the tenth circuit. and we us, are distinguished clerks who will tell us about his way of being a judge. we've been fortunate enough to work with two of the three. i'm sorry we missed out on the third. and neil has done a fabulous job of taking care to find the very best law clerks.
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they send a lot of them off to the u.s. supreme court. and think of it, neil has written 800 majority opinions. that's about 80 a year. the u.s. supreme court takes up roughly 80 cases a year. so, you learn a lot from the opinions. and neil writes well. he's a good, careful writer, tells us what he thinks and why he thinks it. and you can pull down those 800 opinions and pour over them, as many have and will do. and not all of them are marbury versus madison. there's the case of the pivotal question of whether a student has the right to burp in class.
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but joking aside, we have in addition to the 800 opinions, a decade of service as a private lawyer. we know that neil gorsuch was a serious, committed trial lawyer with a nationwide practice. that's pretty much all he did between his student days to his time on the bench. he was a hard-working civil trial lawyer. i would say there's very little that has been written about that time in neil's career, very little has been written in-depth. not that much about his time as a civil trial lawyer. i would argue to you today, that experience as a civil trial lawyer, working in the trenches of our court system is as telling as what neil could be
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like other than his service as an actual judge. i would put it ahead of silly things he wrote in a law column at columbia. he had a great talent for civil trial law, and was headed for a notable career as a trial lawyer, and a lucrative one at that. but he was still a rising career lawyer when he went into public service. that said, and no disrespect to the eight sitting current judges, but i would say that his commitment to the united states system -- we've gone 42 years since we've had a supreme court
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nominee with the experience of neil gorsuch. those of us who have tried cases would argue that deep experience with the thing we use to resolve our disputes is of pivotal important to those on the bench. facts and records matter. what happens in litigation is messy, human, far from an abstract intellectual exercise. cases are derived from life, from lived experience. the life of law is not logic, people that try cases know that very well. neil gorsuch understands the system's strengths and
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weakness weaknesses, understands how the law affects real people. he's been an advocate for real people. and he's seen it from all sides. this has to be a big plus for anybody who will go and take a position as a supreme court justice. what else do we know about neil? when he was young, he worked hard. if you are wondering how do i get to the u.s. supreme court, hard work is a big part of it. i went back and checked. in his years as a partner, about seven years, neil billed between 2,400 to3,000 hours a year. substantially less as an associate. but neil was a hard worker. why do i think this was significant?
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there's no check on how hard the supreme court works, it's a hard job, enormous amount of material to master, and enormous justice and i'm not talking about current justices, but justices over the course of history who for whatever reasons, health, age, boredom, checked out. let the clerks dot work for them. i think we have enormous confidence that won't happen to neil gorsuch. he is hard worker. two, he's been exposed to a lot. that we know from his time at practice. not only was he an active trial lawyer but he works on both side of the v, as i like it call it. he worked for plaintiffs and defendants. i'll give you an example of cases he worked on with me. there was an accounting firm and
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loans people could get on their tax refund, and the sneaky part is there was a 400% interest rate on them. hopefully i won't be struck by a bolt of lightning, but we represented plaintiffs in this case. we tried to get a class certified because we thought these loans were abusive and ultimately they were stopped. our class representative was this army master sergeant, female, african-american, she agred to serve the class representation for one reason and one reason alone. she thought it bass the right thing to do. but i remember how deeply neil and i felt about trying to get justice for this woman and other people who had been victimized by this scheme. when he reports about how neil is a lawyer for corporate interest, remember that case. it is a telling indicator on the other side of the v. there was a theft case for a small iranian immignt dtor whowne an airport outside college park, maryland.
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he owned an airport that had a gravel pit on big construction company was stealing the gravel. neil took that case for the doctor. there was a large antitrust case we brought in paducah, kentucky. helped bring the largest civil antitrust judgment ever. i was the new lawyer but no one is interested in me today we will make this about neil. finally, there was an interference case for a beloved charity hospital here in washington who put out a business by an insurance company and neil and the colleague attained a stunning verdict that helped the hospital get money back from the insurance company. but we're not always the robin hood.
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southwest bell, now at&t, in arkansas, and allegedly taking too much money out of the group of theaters called regal cinema. there were ford, rollovers with bron bronco iis where we had to defend honest hard-working people who built the cars and some said they were deliberately building cars to kill people. doctors came after insurers saying the insurer refused to pay claims that the doctor validly claimed he needed 50 operations on one hand. th's a sampling of the cases. there were many, many more. but i hope it gives you some sense of the breath of the practice, variety practice, substance, subject areas that neil worked in. i think you couldn't find a supreme court nominee with a broader litigation experience or deeper grounding of what we do.
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when he takes his seat on the court he may be unique among colleagues and broad firsthand understanding of how the law affects real people in real life. i just think that's a huge asset for anyone who will be asked for resolve. next on my book of virtues, he has a very independent streak. we know that from his time in practice. now usually when we say our little firm about young partners or associates that means they are contrary and difficult to work with. but that's not what i mean when i talk about neil here. what i mean when i talk about neil is he does what he thinks is right, every time. for example he came to our little firm. instead of standard traditional big law firms that most people with his background goes to. he decided to go somewhere where he could get more experience faster and help build something. he made it and never looked back.
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he drown himself in trial work rather than appellate work with the clerkship backgrounds people like neil have. instead of the abstract type exercise, he dove into the muck and mess of real life litigation. it shows his independent streak. i worked for plaintiffs rather than defendants. a lot of people won't work for plaintiffs. they think defendants are always right. it didn't take me long in the practice of long to be disabused of that. no one is always right. sometimes plaintiffs are right and sometimes defendants are right. and our system depend on the ability and willingness of lawyers to look at both sides. remember things from both side of the street. not be a doctrine oriented lawyer but bring the client the best result you can obtain for the client consistent with the ruflt la rules of the law. on the cusp of a great career as
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a civil right triaery lucrative, gave it all up and went into public service. he felt a calling to do public service. turned his back on what would have been a very lucrative and satisfying career. so at end of the day, these and a million other things i could cite to you are evidence of the fact neil won't do what anyone tells him to do. whether the president who nominated him or anyone else. neil gorsuch will go what he thinks is right. he has a firm compass that guides his actions. number 4 is neil has a good temperament. i will tell you a couple of storesries on that one. a sense of humor helps, right? we have contentious activities, fight for people for a living. it helps deflect that tension with humor. we were on our way it charlottesville. we told our office manager to find us an economical office space.
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neil showed up before me. our office manager did too well. she got us a very economic cal space and he neil said, we will call it das boat. it looked like a little german submarine. i know this is being televised. please, fno one write that neil is an admirer of the german navy. he was not. but we are familiar with the movie. and it was a perfect characterization of our little trial office. hence forward it was always, we will let you at the das boat at 2:00. tell the witness to be at d bo at 3:15. neil gs along with people even adversaries. there are stories if the press where adversaries said honest ethical guy. there are amusing stories. and that's this one.
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we had an adversary who had this habit of calling me. we would have a conversation. someone would annoy him and would he slam the phone down. every time. that creates wear and tear to deal with that. i finally called the person and said, john, i know you like to slam the phone down on me but the day will come when you want it take a call from me and i won't take your call. i won't say it because we're on television but he used a word that reflected his view of the subject and give me confidence he understood my message. so i didn't talk to him on the phone any more. fast forward about year year. neil said, john's been calling me. why? he said you won't take his call. i said, that's right. i told him i wouldn't. well john want to pay you, $1,300,000. i said, i'm not taking his call. he said, mark, take the money, okay? i said, neil, i'm not talking to the guy. you have to understand the pressure.
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all of the final appeals had been exhausted and interest was running on this enormous judgment. john wanted to get rid of the money otherwise he would have to pay $300,000, $400,000 a day. it was hurting john for me not to take his call. finally neil said, i'll tell you what, mark, you never have to talk to john, don't worry about it. so he went behind my back and said, we will work this out. mark is crazy. he managed to work out the details of payment without offending me, without annoying me. cooperatively with john. got the client's interest served. and it was made clear to john and all worked out fine. i can tell you lots of other stories but i think the important part of it is that neil is a consensus builder. he finds common ground with people. he has a worm personality and we aren't sending them to court to be a pariah. i hope we are sending them to the supreme court to work with his or her colleagues. influence them, persuade.
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neil has wonderful qualities that will help him in that effort. hopefully i'm not too far in my time. i'm sure there's a hook for me if i'm overdoing it. but once a senior partner tells stories, there's no limit. number five on my book of virtues thaents what kind of person is he. does he get along with people, does he have a sense of humor, does he work hard? but do we know anything about him to know what he is like at his core. do we have something that says about charter? i would say that we do. it's one of my favorite stories. and it's this. we had a case for a big investment bank in florida that we were called into defend after the judge defaulted the bank. committed gross misconduct and treated the plaintiffs as true
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even though wasn't and tried on damages. i got hired to do that case. as i was sitting there watching another law firm do jury selection and i'll tell you, my stomach sank because what are they going to do with this thing? i can't even tell you how scary this was because not only did the judge default at the client but the judge was convinced massive obstruction of justice was occurred an enormous suspicion with anyone to do with this client, so it had career ender written all over it. just death to your career. so much so, when the trial ended, the judge considered seriously appointing the other side's lawyer as a special prosecutor under florida law to conduct a criminal investigation of us with the power to indict an why do i tell you that story?
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because after i got hired, what am i going to do? the other law firm was fired and enormously complicated case. yikes. i got a stop card. can i finish this and then stop. i called neil. he had a plan to go off into government, the department of justice. would have been completely understandable to say, i've got a hair appointment next week or i got other things to do. he could have come up with a million excuses or, mark, my career is too important i'm not going to strap myself into this burning boat and go down with you, okay? what he said was, when you need me. he put his career on the line.
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i think that tells you a lot about the person, neil gorsuch what america is getting, the highly intelligent principle and experienced man with and i'm 40. everyone sent a letter to the senate saying you need neil gorsuch on the united states supreme court. i'll say getting 40 independents who won't even agree what kind of coffee to stock in th kitchen, support neil gouch. this is an extraordinarily strong letter of recommendation. thank you all. [ applause ] >> now we hear from the panel of judge gorsuch's former law clerks. first up is jamil, adjunct professor at george mason scalia law school where he founded national security institute and directs the national security law program. jamiel worked in the office of legal policy and the white house counsel's office during the bush
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administration and chief counsel and senior advisor for the senate foreign relations committee and senior counsel to the house intelligence committee. he was one of judge gorsuch's first law clerks and also for edith jones of the fifth circuit. he is a ucla graduate, university of chicago law school and united states naval college. and then her scholarship focuses on national security, criminal procedure and executive power. she previously served in the office of legal counsel during the obama administration and as an associate at kellogg hanson. jane is a graduate of harvard law school as well as harvard college. she clerked for judge gorsuch and then sonya sotomayor and then matt owen, staff director and chief counsel and chaired by senate rob portman. he previously served as chief counsel to mike lee as a fellow in the office as solicitor
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general, and as law clerk to neil gorsuch and antonin scalia. a graduate of the university of texas at austin and the university of michigan law school. we'll hear from you first. >> thanks to the heritage foundation for having all of us and thanks to mark for giving such a real tribute to judge neil gorsuch who really is a truly amazing person. i thought what i would do for a few minutes, talk about the person that neil gorsuch is and the way he's affected my life in particular. i saw him in three different capacities over the course of time i've known him. when i first arrived at kellogg hanson back in 2004, judge gorsuch was a partner of the law firm and i was a young associate fresh out of law school and a clerkship with judge edith jones and i didn't know anytng about the law. i started to meet partners and associates and the like, sort of learn about what the practice of law was like. i learned that kellogg hanson is a unique firm.
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i first ever deposition of the firm was a former federal district judge was 10 years on the bench and a partner with williams and connelly and a chief legal counsel for a major accounting firm. they throw you into the deep water fast but judge gorsuch at the time in terms of very approachable person. he's a partner and you expect them to be scary but he was none of those things. he was there for a couple of months before heading off to the justice department but in the brief time i knew him there, he was very accessible, down to earth, approachable, and this held true over the entire course of the, you know, well over now 13, 14 years that i've known him. so got to know him a little bit there. judge at the time, off he goes to the justice department. little did i know nine months later, i'd follow to the justice department when mark was kind
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enough to let me lead to go work on the confirmations of then chief judge and now chief justice john roberts and then judge and now justice samuel alito and white house counsel harriet myers. it was unique opportunity to see judge gorsuch in his time at the tops. i didn't work for him but didn't report to him. it was legal policy at the time run by rachel brand who's now a professor at the scalia law school and nominated to be the associate attorney general and justice department, but i got to know judge gorsuch in a different capacity as a practicing lawyer in the federal government. and that was really interesting but i saw him manage an entire set of divisions, the entire civil litigating office of the justice department and he had a practical view of this. again, very approachable. a young man at the time as mark mentions, he was in his late 30s.
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i was in my late 20s, early 30s at the same time. the bush administration was considering nominating him to be a judge on the tenth circuit. i knew this guy when he was a young lawyer or a young partner and now he's a young senior official of the justice department and nominee of the tenth circuit. this is kind of crazy. so my boss says, can you do the vetting on this guy? actually, i can't because i knew him at the law firm so i thought i might be conflicted now. i can't be involved but ultimately, did the vetting and nominate him to the court of appeals and so i said, now that they've made a decision, i can help, so i did. this was after all the supreme court stuff had finished an ultimately, confirmed to the bench and said, i need to hire some law clerks and i had a friend of mine who ultimately ended up clerking for two appellate judges including judge gorsuch but i said, this guy, so young, so dynamic. he's going back to denver. heather's in denver.
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she would love this young man and so i said, you should talk to heather kirby, and did, ultimately hired her, two law clerks including a friend of mine, mike davis, at the time, moving to work in the criminal division and a special assistant attorney and ultimately hired mike and mike having gone for a year and now his own private law practice and completely changed his life. went from iowa to dc to having a private law practice, his own solo practice with two other folks in denver, colorado. so then judge gorsuch had one more spot and said to me, you should come clerk for me and it's funny. you look back. what an idiot. i scoffed at him. i clerked for edith jones, the queen of, you know, the federal judiciary when it comes to folks who are conservative, so i can't clerk for you in denver, so crazy, young partners in the law
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firms have me come clerk but he made a convincing case. he said, ski season in denver. pretty good point. i was afraid to leave at the time because i had been there a year and my plan was to go back to kellogg hanson and i said, i was a little worried because rachel brand gave me unique opportunities right out of law school and clerkship and like, kellogg hanson would be, what, are you crazy to go now clerk again for a former partner and so i said, i'll make you a deal. i'll come clerk for you if you ask rachel. what an obnoxious human being it takes to tell a federal judge just confirmed. you go ask my boss and so here we are and he did and she said, yes, and off i went to go clerk for him. i only spent four months with him but let me tell you about who he was. he moved from a partner law firm to a federal attorney to a judge and was amazing about the
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transition was he did it with grace and dignity and honor an he really did it in a way that makes you think, this is a judge's judge. went from advocate to policy deciding lawyer in the justice department to being a neutral decision maker, and so going to work for him for the first fur months was amazing because you watch the transportation, but beyond that, you also saw a young man who was sort of coming into his own and i remember the first day that mike arrived, he took us alpine sledding. it wasn't a workday. and alpine sledding, for those who don't know, it's one of the things people do in colorado when the mountains are not covered in snow. you take the track down the mountain. you go down this high speed rail try to race each other and the judge beat both davis and i down the mountain twice and continued to make fun of us for six months.
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you're young, dynamic, i can beat you down the mountain? it's pretty embarrassing. so and then he taught us how to fly fish. he loves fly fishing. very normal, down to earth human being. i was so bad at fly fishing, by the way, took the fly rod out of my hands and said, i'll get the fish on the line for you and then you reel it in. like your dad, almost embarrassing moments. first thing he asked me to work on is make sure he handled the ethics of becoming a judge properly. the law and statutes to handle he was coming out of a law firm, the justice department and handled those things ethically. we ensured he implemented the rules properly to properly take the office and take it seriously. he w serious about that. spent time revising the memo and looking at the materials and looking at the various parties he might recuse from and making decisions that went well beyond the law. well yopd the requirements. he wanted to make sure there was no question he was doing the right thing.
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that's the same way i's proechs the cases. he looks at the law first. he then looks at the arguments the parties are making before him and trying to figure out, what is it that the law says about this case before me? he doesn't try to make law for the 40 cases to come to the future. he doesn't look to go beyond the arguments made by the parties and doesn't look to go beyond the text of the law. tries to apply the law faithfully as written by congress and the framers of the constitution and apply it even handedly and with that, getting the stop signal. i'll turn it over to my colleagues. >> hi. i thought i would start and talk first about what jamiel left off and one thing that struck me
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from day one coming off of law school and judge politicians and robes. so i came from law school and had this in mind and so it was a real shock to me to clerk from day one for a judge that conveyed from really the moment the first case i had with him that it is not how it goes in chambers and it's all about the rule of law and it's all about a place where judiciary is not a place to do politics. it's not a place for personal preferences of the judge but rule of law and the text of the statutes and the constitution, and originally understood at the time that the constitution was enacted. what do the arguments say? that struck me because it had even to this day conversations with friends where they had a cynical view of the judiciary and i think that one thing i feel very sort of blessed about is to have had the opportunity to clerk for someone who
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conveyed to me this deep, deep sense that, you know, like, democracy can only function if it is in the elected, or if it is in the representative branches where policies are being done. so that was a first thing that struck me and then the second thing that struck me was the way in which he approached all cases whether they were high profile, low profile, it was an enormous amount of care and respect. i remember one case in particular. won't get into specifics of it, it was very much, low profile case, not a case that was going to get into the newspapers but had not one but two. a tricky question with the factual aspects of the record and sifted through it for hours and days and weeks. that's till cap of the judge with all of his cases. that struck me as well. on the personal side, the way i came to the judge was i put
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together in law school this list of judges i wanted to clerk for. i was one of the early clerks when i was applying on the bench for a year and a half. i hadn't heard of him and had lists of 20 or 30 judges. a friend looked at the list and he ran through and said, this looks good but you should add this judge, judge gorsuch. he just took the bench. i heard him give a speech and he seemed just brilliant and i think you should go and take a look at him. so i applied. i was fortunate enough to get an interview with him and actually confess, reluctantly that i wasn't sure the day, do i want to fly out to colorado? i was debating possibly cancelling. so i flew out there and by the end of the interview, he offers me the position, i would just be blessed to clerk because in the short span of 30 to 40 minutes, i could see his brilliance and
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this incisive questioning and also, just what a kind decent man he was and there was a real warmth radiated from him and that has been my experience with him, so i've known him now for ten years. he's virtually the first person i call with any question about my career or even some aspects of my personal life and he takes the time on the phone to talk it through with me and offers any help he can give and a true mentor to me and a lot of folks. on that one last story, many students apply to this supreme court in law school and got accepted to the supreme court clerkship right out of law school and i didn't apply and i don't even recall applying. i thought it was just something out of reach, wasn't going to happen for me. and it was the judge that pressed day in, day out that encouraged me to apply.
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i was fortunate enough to have a later experience on the clerks of the supreme court and that's just an episode that demonstrates really his mentorship qualities and how he's looking out for everyone. so on that note, turn it over to you. >> thank you. thanks the to harris foundation for having all of us. and i wanted to also thank mark for his address which i also thought was really interesting as we all came to know, except jaffer, but the rest of us came to know him after his days of a lawyer. we've heard war stories from mark and partners, other people who appeared with and against and around the judge when he was a lawyer and still practiced. we understand he was a remarkable lawyer but it's a part of his life that we didn't get to see. so it's nice to hear about. i guess i'll reverse the order in which jane took this.
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i want to say something personal about the judge and then maybe something a little bit about his cases and his approach to the law. it's funny how we all came to clerk for him. i came to clerk for him because i had an interview with a different federal judge on a wednesday and this judge is, you know, famously very rigorous about interviews. he was a very grueling kind of all-day process of talking to his law clerks and him about everything, which wasn't much as a second year law student but i flew from the interview to denver to meet someone, i confess, someone i didn't know much about, except his name was neil gorsuch, and he was a judge.
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the professor of mine who sort of my mentor in law school. and terrific judge now and was friends with neil gorsuch and said, he's new and great. you need to go talk to him. he's in denver and talked to the law person and sit down with the judge and about 30 minutes, he managed, while being entirely kind of gentlemanly and polite to poke at three or four questions about my writing sample and classes that were real questions that got to the point but meanwhile to learn what i was planning to do over the weekend, planning to go hiking, would i like to stop by his cabin because all the law clerks would be there on a hike and made sure i got a phone number to do that. he was from the beginning, from the first minute before he offered me a job, the most welcoming person in the world about being in colorado and being around him and his sort of extended family that became his law clerks. and it feels like an age ago now
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to look back on it, knowing that he's now the nominee of the president to be on the supreme court is something special for me and all of us, i think, who clerk for him, particularly those who clerked a long time ago. i'll also echo something janey say. as a human being, he's tremendously, i can attest when i had ugh days and paarly rough day in my life. i got a call from the judge who sort of heard about it and all i could say is he made it his business to make sure whatever was going on was put right and do that himself, which he did. and it meant a lot to me. and particularly because i had the privilege to clerk for
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justice scalia, whose seat this is. it's meaningful to me to know that the person who's going to take justice scalia's seat on the court is not just a conservative in his tradition but also a good man. i do want to say something quickly about his jurisprudence too because he's been compared in the last few months to justice scalia in lots of ways. maybe not in what we might call the vociferousness of his descent. i don't think you could look forward to the same biting descent of neil gorsuch as what we used to read from justice scalia. but you could expect a similar approach to the law. you know, textualism when it comes to statutes and originalism, history, and rigorous attention to the law when it comes to the constitution. if anyone remembers when they were in, like, grade school having to diagram sentences.
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there's a sentence diagram in the opinion and actually makes it very clear. you want to know like, which word does this phrase modify and i'll show you, right? it illustrates a really deep commitment to the things that, for me, it's important to say, justice scalia taught us all after he died, everyone took a moment to notice how much justice scalia changed the way lawyers and judges talked about and think about the law. one way you know that is nearly 30 years after scalia became a justice, the person who is nominated to sake his seat, is a person who diagrammed his sentence in a judicial opinion rather than leaving through legislative history. i was going to say something about a constitutional case but actually, maybe in keeping with the theme of mark's speech, i have something to say about the judge's attitude towards civil
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litigation. he was a trial lawyer and he understood that part of his job as a court of appeals judge was to ensure that trial litigation is efficient and fair. and so, years after i clerked there, i got a, you know, he sends out his opinions to his law clerks, you know, occasionally and we pretend that we read them all. but we read some of them. and i remember reading one that was a published opinion of the tenth circuit and anyone watch as a lawyer will know what this means, about a discovery dispute. what happened is a trial judge had sanchsedtioned a party for producing a document they were supposed to produce on time. they were told do it a second time and they still didn't do it. the judge lost their temper a little bit and dismissed the case. and in dismissing the case, the judge didn't cite all of the things you are supposed to and
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consider everything you are supposed to consider. the judge wrote an opinion ywhih is cited a lot. and no, no, discovery is not a sme shell game. you cannot hide document and are long litigation that costs real people time and money. if a judge decides that if you bring a lawsuit and you won't comply with discovery order, they want to dismiss your suit, that's fine. right? and it's a small thing. but actually if you've ever practiced civil litigation as all of us know, partners like mark say, hey, go find a case where when somebody did this terrible thing to us, the judge came down on them, those cases are very hard to find. can you spend a lot of time. because court of appeals judges don't like it hear discovery cases. they like to write about constitutional law and fourth amendment and religious freedom and all the things we take to
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talk about. but judge gorsuch makes it understood that it is conducted as fairly as it can. i know that that interest and commitment that learned from being a lawyer and what he knows is important about how the justice system really operates for real people and real parties and real cases goes with him to the supreme court. so with that i'll turn back to elizabeth. >> thank you. so now we have time for a few questions from the audience. we have a few ground rules. please wait for a microphone, identify yourself, and please ask a question. don't make a speech. any takers? over here. >> hi, paul cavanar. i had the fortunate to know the judge while he was in private practice. in terms of his work ethic, it is clear, when he is on supreme court, do you think he would join justice alito in terms of
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reading his own petitions there or be part of the pool? and there are several petitions pending that will be before him after he is confirmed. especially criminal law. so i would like to know, what do you think about that and what is his view on criminal law jurisprudence. thank you. >> i can take a shot at that. i know that, for those of you that know, justices, most of them except justice alito pool their law clerks to help review the petitions that come in and petitions to ask a court to review a case and it is having written these memos that is a tedious part of every law clerk's week. justice alito is not in that process. he likes to have his clerks review all petitions under his own standards. but that wasn't true the first year he was on the court.
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as i remember, alito was in the pool a while, until he decided what he wanted to do. so i don't know whether the judge has any particular plan about that. i'm sure we will find out but i wouldn't be surprised if you change your mind about that over time. on criminal law jurisprudence, there are a number of cases where like justice scalia, if the law says the defendant gets to win, the defendant gets to win and that's sort of the end of it. there are particular cases where the judges just favored the government and his opinions to me reflect the same approach to that that justice scalia had. >> i think the important thing
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to know about that is that justice jackson was attorney general before he was nominated to the bench. one of the interesting things about justice jackson is he took on the role of the judge very serious. as in he was an advocate when he was in the justice department and immediately switched from a neutral decision maker. i think people look at justice jackson and say that is man that took that craft seriously. judge gorsuch is similar if the sense that his having been at the justice department senior official, that doesn't bring many baggage. he looks at the law for what it is and decides the case on the law, not on the view of how this should come out, whether for the government or for the defendant at the end of the day. he's spoken a bit about overcriminalization also and talked about the challenges that overcriminalization presents for the judicial system and for parties who are trying to govern their own conduct. >> if i can add something, i don't know if you agree with this, i think if he took something from his senior service at the department, to


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