On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia. Some are considering Gorsuch an appropriate, even if more conservative, successor, with his philosophy resonating that of Scalia.
Like the former justice, Gorush has championed both originalism and textualism, which together result in interpretation of text both literally and as it was intended at the time of authorship.
He has exercised his perspective through a 10-year tenure on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado and, if approved by the legislature, could take a seat on the highest court in the nation.
Already, his experience has left him with decisive influence in American economics, particularly in cases regarding labor.
In the past, Gorsuch has had a generally favorable position on the National Labor Relations Board. In one case involving Laborers’ International, he opined, ““[W]e must affirm the NLRB’s decision so long as ‘substantial evidence’ exists in the record to support its findings. Our job isn’t to make the call ourselves, but only to ask whether a reasonable mind could have made the call the NLRB made.”
However, he has been critical of the NLRB when it appears to overstep the bounds of its authority.
Here are some of his previous cases involving the NLRB or bearing economic impact in other regards.
- Laborers’ International Union V. NLRB: Gorsuch ruled that the NLRB was just in censuring the union for unfair labor practices after it convinced an employer to dismiss a member who failed to pay his dues.
- Teamsters Local Union V. NLRB: Gorsuch argued in favor of the NLRB that lawful employer lockouts remain lawful even when a company threatens to hire permanent replacement workers rather than temporary ones.
- NLRB V. Community Health Services: Gorsuch argued that the NLRB had overstepped the bounds of its authority when it chose to omit interim earnings in employee backpay calculations.
- International Union of Operating Engineers V. NLRB: Gorsuch upheld the NLRB’s decision to admonish a union for unfair labor practices after it removed a member from its list of work-eligible employees and subsequently refused to stamp her unemployment book.
- TransAm Trucking V. Administrative Review Board: On technical language in the TransAm employee contract, Gorsuch argued that a TransAm driver was justly dismissed after abandoning his truck on the side of the road amid inclement weather conditions.
- Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. V. Sebelius: As an advocate of expansive religious freedom, Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby during its resistance to the Affordable Care Act clause mandating employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives against religious convictions.
In other cases, Gorsuch has also spoken as an opponent of the dormant commerce clause, through which state laws can be declared unconstitutional if they interfere with interstate commerce.
Pending Cases Of Economic Consequence
If approved as a justice, Gorsuch could weigh in on at least two outstanding Supreme Court cases with market implications.
The first is Epic Systems Corp V. Lewis, which takes up the legality of companies forcing employees to relinquish their right to unite in filing work-related legal claims.
The second concerns EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions through increased energy costs and would inhibit companies involving fossil fuels. Solar, wind and hydro industries are poised to win from the plan’s implementation.Image Credit: By White House official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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