Gorsuch wins support of Republicans, may get tangled in immigration row


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski gave high marks to Judge Neil Gorsuch, who President Donald Trump has nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Separately, the general counsel for the Alaska Republican Party joined 35 state counterparts in supporting his nomination.

“I had a constructive meeting today with Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, where I had the opportunity to learn more about his background and beliefs as well as educate him on areas of concern to Alaskans,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I have been impressed with Judge Neil Gorsuch from the very beginning, and I am now even more confident in his abilities and qualifications as a jurist. Judge Gorsuch will bring a much-needed western perspective to the Supreme Court and can help his future colleagues better understand unique federalism issues facing states like Alaska.”

Alaska Republican Party attorney Stacey Stone signed a letter of support for Gorsuch’s nomination. The letter was a joint effort by 36 state Republican Party attorneys, which stated in part:

“Just as importantly, Judge Gorsuch has exhibited himself to know where the role of a judge ends and the role of Congress begins. All too often judges do not recognize the restraint required of a judge; we have no such reservation here.

Specific to the work we each conduct on behalf of state Republican parties, we believe that in cases such as Riddle v. Hickenlooper, 742 F.3d 922 (2014), Judge Gorsuch made clear his respect for Supreme Court precedent and how he values free speech rights for all in our country, particularly with a focus on elections.

We encourage your Committee to act inquisitively as you deliberate the nomination of Judge Gorsuch yet also conduct your efforts with deliberate efficiency to advance his name to the full Senate.”


As expected, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the president’s travel sanctions on certain individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries attempting entry to the United States. If Trump appeals to the Supreme Court, the matter is likely to play a role in the speed of the Gorsuch confirmation.

The 9th Circuit is the most overturned circuit in the nation, and U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is hoping to split the circuit, which is considered overloaded with work.

Sullivan and Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines introduced two bills last week: One establishes a commission to study how to divide the 9th circuit, and the other would create a 12th Circuit that would contain Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. California, Guam, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands would remain the 9th Circuit.

In the meantime, the 9th Circuit ruling against Trump’s order gives him an opportunity to snatch a foreign policy victory from defeat.

By rescinding the current order, and then reissuing it with a narrower application, plus a series of hearings on the potential impacts, Trump could garner the open support of leading Republicans in Congress.

He would also make the 9th Circuit ruling on his earlier order moot, while depriving future plaintiffs of most of their arguments.

While that work is underway, the Gorsuch confirmation vote could go forward, setting the stage for a favorable Supreme Court ruling, should it be necessary.