Since early 2017, several Loyola New Orleans faculty members, along with their colleagues at University of Pennsylvania Law (UPenn), assisted the ABA Standing Committee on the Judiciary with their evaluation of Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. "The Standing Committee does not propose, endorse, or recommend nominees. Its sole function is to evaluate a nominee’s integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament, and then rate the nominee as 'Well Qualified,' 'Qualified,' or 'Not Qualified.'" (Degan) The Committee unanimously rated Judge Gorsuch "Well-Qualified" for appointment to the Supreme Court based on his integrity, competence, and judicial temperament. The Committee emphasizes that this is a non-partisan analysis, focusing only on those traits and receives reports from an academic group, a practitioners group, and a large number of interviews with the Judge's peers in other courts.
Here at Loyola, we had a busy couple of weeks starting in late January 2017. As you may remember, there was much speculation in the news over the name of Trump's SCOTUS nominee. (Runkle & Hamm) In order for our faculty to begin working as soon as the nominee was named, our law librarians began collecting information on several potential nominees. It was not until the announcement of the nomination on February 1, 2017 that we focused on Judge Gorsuch. (Degan)
Along with the law librarians at UPenn, our goal was to collect and organize everything Judge Gorsuch had ever written in order for our faculties to spend as much time as possible reading and analyzing the huge amount of information - approximately 900 documents! We organized cases into 34 substantive categories, collected news reports on the Judge, and even gathered columns from Columbia Spectator, the Columbia University student newspaper that Judge Gorsuch wrote for during his college days. Because our faculty had so many documents to analyze, we also created individual bibliographies by topic for non-case material. While the case opinions Judge Gorsuch authored were already accessible by topic, we analyzed all other documents by or about Judge Gorsuch, identified the relevant topic, and submitted it to the Loyola faculty member focused on that substantive topic. The goal of this was to make it as easy as possible for our faculty members, some of whom had to read and analyze more than 30 opinions in only 2 weeks, on top of their regular workload.
We are grateful to Nancy Scott Degan (L ’83), chair of the Standing Committee, for inviting Loyola to participate. Special thanks to the UPenn Law Library and their wonderful IT staff for their work and support. We'd also like to acknowledge the hard work of all the faculty involved. It was an interesting and fun project for our law librarians to work on, and we enjoy assisting our faculty in all their research endeavors!
You can watch the confirmation hearing live by visiting C-SPAN, https://www.c-span.org/.