College Classmate: Neil Gorsuch Attacked Anti-Apartheid & Civil Rights Protesters & Defended Contras

I think what stands out about Neil Gorsuch was that his views were completely formed as soon as he entered college as a freshman, which I think is unusual, and he had very solid right-wing reactionary views from the beginning. He was also, on a personal level, very polished and affable. And I think this is part of a consistent pattern, where he has a real commitment to reactionary politics and is able to put an appealing face on it.

.. He did attack South African divestment, after the university had already decided to divest. And he put out a real divisive argument that it was going to hurt student aid. He attacked a protest led by black students against racism on campus, not based on the substance of the issue, but saying that people involved were revolutionaries. He did stick up for Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair, Iran-Contra scandal, which was an extreme position even for conservatives at the time.

.. he said that it was within Ronald Reagan’s executive power to engage in these covert operations

.. he put in a real strong defense of the Contras and said it was really urgent that they succeed.

.. And I think the other aspect of him that’s really consistent here is that he—whenever he attacked, attacked these left—these progressive positions and attacked progressive activists, which he did a lot of, it was never based on the merits of the issue. It was always based on some other reason. So, the—again, so South African divestment, it’s not an issue of apartheid being wrong, it’s an issue of having student aid, or that these protests aren’t bad, but the protesters are bad because they’re revolutionaries or they’re superficial. He made a lot of claims that they didn’t really know what they were doing, and they just enjoyed protesting. And that seems consistent with a lot of what he does as a judge, where he doesn’t really address the merits of the issue, but comes up with legal reasons for making unjust decisions.

.. a case involving a truck driver who got fired because his truck broke down on the side of the road at nighttime in the winter, and he thought he was freezing to death

.. Judge Gorsuch dissented, saying that the plain language of the law didn’t protect him from being fired. So here’s a case where you have an extremely, extremely inhumane treatment of the worker, and Judge Gorsuch decides that he has to just stick with what he sees as the plain language of the statute, which is something that other people disagree with. So he’s willing to interpret laws in a way that comes up—comes out to really unjust results.

.. even though he was a polished, affable person, the positions he took were really ruthless.

.. divestment was a done deal on campus by two years by the time he wrote that column. And he was—I mean, the university had already decided to divest