Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominee, known to bioethicists as scholar on assisted dying

February 14, 2017

Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals, now the Su­preme Court nominee, is known as a scholar on physician-assisted dying.

Gorsuch, his wife, and two daughters attend St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado.

Gorsuch is the author of The Fu­ture of Assisted Suicide and Eutha­nasia, which argues for maintaining laws against such practices. “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong,” he wrote.

As a circuit court judge, he ruled on Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., two cases in which religious organizations—a Catholic order of nuns and the evangelical owners of a craft store chain—sought exemptions from providing birth control under the Affordable Care Act. “All of us face the problem of complicity,” he wrote in support of Hobby Lobby. Government should not force those with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to comply with “conduct their religion teaches them to be gravely wrong.”

Robert P. George, professor of juris­prudence at Princeton University, wrote in the Washington Post about editing the Princeton University Press series that included Gorsuch’s book. He noted that the scholarly work was “praised by bioethicists (including the liberal Daniel Callahan and the conservative John Keown). . . . His sheer fair-mindedness was the thing I found most striking about working with him.” —Religion News Service, with added information