WASHINGTON — It’s poker night in a row house on Cranham Street, Oxford, England, and Neil Gorsuch, studying for yet another degree, is feeling down. His housemates decide that what Gorsuch needs is a girlfriend.
Accounts differ on whether it was a dare, goading or a gentle prod, but Gorsuch phones a woman he’d clicked with during a school dinner more than a year earlier — and she doesn’t remember him.
That 1994 phone call may be one of the few times that Gorsuch, a federal judge nominated for the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, didn’t immediately stand out from the crowd. Louise Burletson agreed to go out with him anyway, and ultimately married the man Trump now describes as “perfect in almost every way” for the high court.
“He’s a glass-half-full kind of guy.”Luis ReyesFormer colleague of Neil Gorsuch at the Justice Department
Gorsuch, whose Senate confirmation hearings began Monday, is roundly described by colleagues and friends as a silver-haired combination of wicked smarts, down-to-earth modesty, disarming warmth and careful deliberation.
Critics largely agree. But even so, they don’t think he belongs on the court, believing him too quick to side with conservative and business interests at the expense of working Americans and the poor.
At age 49, Gorsuch already has marked his 10th anniversary as an appellate judge in Colorado, styling himself in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative powerhouse whom he would replace.
In his writings and lectures, Gorsuch offers himself as a “workaday judge,” one wearing “honest, unadorned black polyester” robes…
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