Why Dean Heller is voting for Neil Gorsuch

Judge Neil Gorsuch provided 20 hours of public testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee answering questions ranging from his judicial philosophy to his decision-making process. After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and watching his confirmation hearings, I am confident in my support for his nomination, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in confirming him as our next Supreme Court Justice.

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

Nevadans need a fair, honest, and objective jurist on our country’s highest court, and throughout Judge Gorsuch’s comprehensive vetting process, which included meetings with Senators from both parties and four days of confirmation hearings, he demonstrated these qualities.

A fourth-generation Coloradan who enjoys fly fishing in the summer and skiing in the winter, Judge Gorsuch also shares our Western values and is familiar with Western issues — ranging from land use to water to energy. He would provide much-needed geographical diversity to the Supreme Court, and his unique perspective would serve Nevadans well.

Judge Gorsuch’s qualifications speak for themselves. He graduated from Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford, clerked for Supreme Court Justices Bryon White and Anthony Kennedy, and worked at the Department of Justice. For over a decade, he has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and heard thousands of cases on a wide range of issues.

During his confirmation hearings, Judge Gorsuch rightfully stated, “There’s no such thing as a Republican or a Democratic judge.” It wasn’t just rhetoric either; throughout his extensive career, Judge Gorsuch has proven to be consistent and possess an even temperament and a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Members from both parties agree. In 2006, the Senate unanimously approved Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to serve on the appellate court. Many of my current Democrat colleagues in addition to then-Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry did not object to his confirmation.

President Barack Obama’s former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal praised Judge Gorsuch for his “first-rate intellect” and as “a fair and decent man” during his confirmation hearing. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Kaytal stated “I have no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help to restore confidence in the rule of law.”

While no one can replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Gorsuch shares many of Justice Scalia’s values, including his integrity and profound respect for the rule of law. Judge Gorsuch’s understanding that our Constitution cannot be re-written is representative of his unquestionable commitment to the law of the land, which will allow him to help preserve Justice Scalia’s legacy on the court.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have heard from many constituents on this issue during telephone town halls, in letters to my office, or in one-on-one conversations in Nevada. There is an overwhelming consensus from Nevadans: it’s time to put Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. I agree and fully support him, and I’ll work to see that Judge Gorsuch is confirmed to serve on our nation’s highest court.

-Dean Heller

Op-ed originally submitted to the RGJ. Dean Heller has served Nevada in the United States Senate since May 9, 2011. Prior to his service in the Senate, Dean was the representative for Nevada’s Second Congressional District and also served as Nevada’s Secretary of State and in the Nevada State Assembly representing Carson City

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