Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch is the Son of Ann Burford Gorsuch, Reagan’s EPA Director


Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit is the son Ann Gorsuch Burford, who served as Ronald Reagan’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ms. Burford passed away in 2004. From the obituary in the Washington Post:

Her 22-month tenure was one of the most controversial of the early Reagan administration. A firm believer that the federal government, and specifically the EPA, was too big, too wasteful and too restrictive of business, Ms. Burford cut her agency’s budget by 22 percent. She boasted that she reduced the thickness of the book of clean water regulations from six inches to a half-inch.

Republicans and Democrats alike accused Ms. Burford of dismantling her agency rather than directing it to aggressively protect the environment. They pointed to budgets cuts for research and enforcement, to steep declines in the number of cases filed against polluters, to efforts to relax portions of the Clean Air Act, to an acceleration of federal approvals for the spraying of restricted pesticides and more. Her agency tried to set aside a 30-by-40-mile rectangle of ocean due east of the Delaware-Maryland coast where incinerator ships would burn toxic wastes at 1,200 degrees centigrade.

Ms. Burford was forced to resign after she was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over Superfund records, arguing that they were protected by executive privilege. Ms. Burford acted under President Ronald Reagan’s orders, with the advice of the Justice Department and against her own recommendation, her colleagues told the press at the time. A few months later, in what one of her aides called a “cold-blooded, treacherous act of political callousness,” the Justice Department announced it would no longer represent her because it was involved in investigations into corruption at the EPA.

In her 1986 book, “Are You Tough Enough?” Ms. Burford called the episode her “expensive mid-life education.”

“When congressional criticism about the EPA began to touch the presidency, Mr. Reagan solved his problem by jettisoning me and my people, people whose only ‘crime’ was loyal service, following orders. I was not the first to receive his special brand of benevolent neglect, a form of conveniently looking the other way, while his staff continues to do some very dirty work,” she wrote.

A striking woman with jet-black hair, she was described as having television-star looks and perfect manicures. She wore fur coats and smoked two packs of Marlboros a day; her government-issued car got about 15 miles per gallon of gasoline.

She could charm opponents, but she also did not shy away from political combat. Denver’s Rocky Mountain News once said, “She could kick a bear to death with her bare feet.” (emphasis mine)

Sounds pretty badass, no?

Other facts about Judge Gorsuch, which you can read in this story in the Washington Post:

He believes in the sanctity of human life. In his book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” Gorsuch writes that “all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

He is known for his strong defense of religious liberty.

He believes that judges should interpret, not make law. He told an audience at Case Western University, “The great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators,”

Sen. Chuck Schumer voted for his confirmation in 2006. So did his Harvard Law School classmate, Sen. Barack Obama.In fact, he was confirmed by voice vote, as in unanimously, without anyone raising an objection.

Melissa Hart, a Democrat law professor at the University of Colorado, who knows him because he taught at the law school, says “He has very strong opinions, but he just treats people well in every context.” In addition, the Washington Post story notes 

Hart, the Democratic law professor, said she resents what Republicans did on the Garland nomination but does not believe there is a “principled reason to block” Gorsuch.

“He will have a strong influence on the court because he’s a very persuasive writer,” she said. “That’s a little scary, but it’s not disqualifying.”

This man is an outstanding choice, with impeccable credentials, which of course, does not mean that the democrats will continue their childish tantrum over losing the election.

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