Magazine December 22, 2019, Issue

Neil Gorsuch’s Judicial Humility

Justice Neil Gorsuch in his chambers at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., September 13, 2019 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
A Republic, If You Can Keep It, by Neil Gorsuch (Crown Forum, 352 pp., $30)

Not long out of law school, Neil Gorsuch was walking with his new boss, Justice Byron White, past the portraits of former justices that line the walls of the ground floor of the Supreme Court. White asked his young law clerk how many of the justices he could name. About half, Gorsuch replied. And White answered: “Me too. We’ll all be forgotten soon enough.” This self-effacing note is an unacknowledged theme of now–Justice Gorsuch’s new book, A Republic, If You Can Keep It.

The book exemplifies self-forgetfulness by offering only the lightest coverage of Gorsuch’s own biography. But the book also urges humility:

This article appears as “Judicial Humility” in the December 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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