Q of the Week: What Would You Ask Gorsuch?

Susan Walsh / AP
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Monday marked the beginning of what will probably be Judge Neil Gorsuch’s toughest job interview: his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. This week, we asked Politics & Policy Daily readers what they would ask Gorsuch if they were on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here are some of our favorite questions from readers.

Keli Osborn is curious about how the judge would rule on previous Supreme Court cases:

How would your judicial philosophy of originalism have influenced rulings on Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Griswold v. Connecticut, Bigelow v. Virginia, and Obergefell v. Hodges?

Bill Rogers simply wants to know which Supreme Court justice Gorsuch admires most—and why.

Susan Perkins would ask specifically about the case Shelby County v. Holder: “Do you have any views on the Supreme Court decision that limited the Federal Government’s power to monitor state election laws for their discriminatory impact?”

Catherine Tanaka thinks it’s absolutely crucial to know where Gorsuch stands on climate change:

So many of the problems on Earth stem from the heating up of the world, from lack of water, to the die-offs in the ocean, from which so many people get their food, to coastal flooding, and to famine leading to wars and mass migrations. No other problem needs such a coordinated approach. If we don’t fix the climate, really, what else matters?

Josh White offered a slightly more light-hearted question for the judge: “In New Mexico, there is a state question: red or green?

John Consentino would ask Gorsuch if he believes “freedom of religion includes imposing your religious tenets on public policy?”—a question Vicki Bliss echoed: “In ruling on religious legal issues that differ from your own, would you be able to judge fairly and truly separate church from state?”

Mitchell Kaplan thinks understanding Gorsuch’s thoughts on science and religion would offer insight into how he might rule on future cases:

How old is Earth? How old is the universe? When did homo sapiens first arrive on earth? Do you believe in adaptation as defined by Darwin? Do you take the Bible literally or metaphorically? Do you believe in creationism?

John Geerken would want to know if Gorsuch, an originalist, would “hold that corporations are people and, as people, have First Amendment religious protections?” Another John would ask whether Gorsuch can think of any errors made by strict conservatives in the  past few years.

From Karen Bottemanne, a question about the world’s changing media landscape:

In view of the 21st-century invention of social media, how would you apply the First Amendment’s freedom of speech to the increasing volume of fake, false, manipulative, hate-filled “speech” carried out by computer bots on well-known media platforms? Many crimes have been committed because of this type of “speech” and events have been altered due to this type of “speech.” How can it be halted? What will be the responsibility of the platform (business) to take down this “speech” in the future? How can the government intervene?

Finally, reader Taylor Jarnagin would ask just one question: “Is your name Merrick Garland?”

If he answers no, Sara would ask:

In as much as the Republicans prevented President Obama from nominating a candidate to the Supreme Court when he had ample time to do so, do you think your nomination is even legitimate? How do you think we should proceed, in view of the controversy over the so-called stolen nomination?