Lawyers cost too much, it takes too long to schedule trials, juries promised by the Constitution are rarely used, and there are too many criminal laws. Those are among the provocative criticisms by the Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, in a USA Today interview and his new book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.” It took the court’s lone westerner only two terms to lead his colleagues in dissents. Gorsuch, 52, has made peace with the court’s liberals, often siding with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in defense of the “little guy” being surveilled, accused, tried or convicted of a crime.
Gorsuch professes to be uncomfortable with the media blitz his book requires, though perhaps not with the $225,000 in royalties it produced before publication. In seven weeks last term, Gorsuch dissented twice from the court’s refusal to hear Sixth Amendment challenges to criminal prosecutions. One involved evidence he said was not subjected to proper testing and cross-examination. The other involved a decision on restitution based on findings by a judge, not a jury. He was joined both times by Sotomayor, perhaps the court’s most liberal justice. Speaking to USA Today, he highlighted cases in which he sided with liberals or when the justices’ votes were jumbled beyond ideological explanation. In most years, he notes, about 40 percent of cases are decided unanimously.