Factbox -Key court cases shed light on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch

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By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

<span class="articleLocation”>Neil Gorsuch has taken part in more than 2,000
court cases as an appeals court judge. Here are seven that offer
insights into his legal views as he faces questioning this week
in a U.S. Senate hearing on his nomination to become a Supreme
Court justice. Frozen trucker Transam Trucking Inc v. Department of Labor, 2016
(bit.ly/2aUK2Ub)

This case shows, liberals say, that Gorsuch rules for
employers at the expense of workers. In it, he dissented from a
three-judge panel that ruled in favor of truck driver Alphonse
Maddin. He was fired after he disobeyed a supervisor and
abandoned his trailer at roadside after its brakes froze. The
panel ruled he was wrongly terminated. Gorsuch disagreed. ‘Chevron deference’
Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016)
(bit.ly/2bLfVgE)

In an immigration case, Gorsuch criticized the “Chevron
deference” legal doctrine that says courts should defer to
federal agencies on interpreting the law. Gorsuch said it
concentrates federal power “in a way that seems more than a
little difficult to square with the Constitution.” If the court
were to roll back the doctrine, presidents would have less
leeway to interpret the law when issuing regulations through
agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. ‘Class clown’ A.M. v Holmes, 2016
(bit.ly/29VN4Jy)

Republicans say Gorsuch does not put politics above the law
and follows his own path. In some criminal cases, he has come
down hard on prosecutors or government officials, while also
sometimes defying colleagues on the bench. In this case, he
decried the handcuffing and arrest of a seventh-grade “class
clown” in Albuquerque who refused to stop burping in class,
saying the police officer involved should not have gotten
immunity from suit. Paraphrasing Charles Dickens, he said the
law is not as much of an “ass” as to allow for that. ‘No trespassing’
U.S. v Carloss 2016 (bit.ly/2nLGzw3)

Standing up for homeowners’ property rights, Gorsuch
dissented from a decision to admit evidence discovered by police
officers who approached, and later entered, a home despite
several “No trespassing” signs outside. He lampooned the idea
that the government can knock on anyone’s door, at any time,
saying homeowners might be surprised to learn that “No
trespassing signs have become little more than lawn art.”

Transgender rights
Druley v Patton (2015)
(bit.ly/2ntFcEV)

In a ruling highlighted by liberal activists as a sign he
may be hostile to gay and transgender rights, Gorsuch joined a
ruling against a transgender Oklahoma state prisoner who claimed
prison officials violated her rights by denying her adequate
hormone therapy and housing her with men. The court rejected her
claims, saying she had not proved she would be “irreparably
harmed without her requested hormone treatment.”

Employee rights
Hwang v. Kansas State University, 2014
(bit.ly/SsXD8J)

In a case criticized by liberals, Gorsuch wrote the opinion
when a three-judge panel ruled against Kansas State University
professor Grace Hwang. She got six months of sick leave from the
school when she was diagnosed with cancer. When she asked for
more time, Kansas State refused. Hwang alleged illegal
disability discrimination. Gorsuch said Hwang was a capable
teacher and was legally disabled. But he wrote: “There’s also no
question she wasn’t able to perform the essential functions of
her job even with a reasonable accommodation.” He said the law
was not intended to “turn employers into safety net providers
for those who cannot work.” Hwang has since died. Religious freedom
Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, 2013
(bit.ly/2func5k)

Liberals say this case shows Gorsuch sides with corporations
over people and favors religious liberty over other interests,
including womens’ contraceptive rights. Retailer Hobby Lobby
argued it should not have to provide insurance coverage for
female employees’ birth control, defying a rule by the
administration of former President Barack Obama. Gorsuch
concurred in an opinion favoring the company and expressed
sympathy for evangelical Christian business owners. The Supreme
Court later upheld the decision for the company.



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