There is no denying that Donald Trump’s presidency has been a bit chaotic at times. That’s a fair assessment that may even be understating things a bit.
If we’re being frank, the man has been under attack from all angles from the moment he announced his political intentions several years ago. During the arduous 2016 election, Trump was even forced to mow throw over a dozen other republicans candidates before finally smashing Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Trump was victorious, however, with much of America shocked at the results. Trump was very much the anti-candidate: A man whose flaws were out in the open, who was unafraid of his opinions being unpopular, and who wasn’t going to be taken advantage of by lobbyists and special interest groups. This resonated with Americans, who were growing increasingly sick and tired of the Washington status quo, and soon we had ourselves a very unorthodox POTUS.
As Trump began “draining the swamp” in Washington, (as he so cleverly put it), he was simultaneously beginning to cement his legacy as well, with a big-time conservative win on the Supreme Court.
Like his predecessor Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch believes the US Constitution should be construed as it was by its original drafters. A Constitutional originalist, Justice Gorsuch joined the Court in April of 2017, roughly 14 months after the death of Justice Scalia. Neil Gorsuch was born in Denver, Colorado on August 29, 1967 but moved to Washington DC in his youth when his mother Anne became the first female Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency. He was a rare conservative voice at first the private high school he attended in Maryland, and then at Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1988 with a degree in political science.
Justice Gorsuch then attended Harvard Law School, where he was classmates with Barack Obama. Upon graduating cum laude in 1991, he clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He then went on to clerk at the Supreme Court for Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. In 1995, he joined a Washington DC law firm where he focused on trial practice and not the appellate work typical of former Supreme Court clerks.
Now, however, just a year later, President Trump may have just been handed an ugly surprise in Gorsuch, as the supposedly conservative Justice sides with the democratic judiciary on immigration.
The Supreme Court said Tuesday that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced.
The court’s 5-4 decision — an unusual alignment in which new Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the four liberal justices — concerns a catchall provision of immigration law that defines what makes a crime violent. Conviction for a crime of violence makes deportation “a virtual certainty” for an immigrant, no matter how long he has lived in the United States, Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her opinion for the court.
The decision is a loss for President Donald Trump’s administration, which has emphasized stricter enforcement of immigration law. In this case, President Barack Obama’s administration took the same position in the Supreme Court in defense of the challenged provision.
This begs the question: Just how safe is Gorsuch on the bench? Will the President regret his appointment, or will this end up being a one-time lapse of political clarity?