Judge Gorsuch’s opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee was a model of gratitude and grace. It stood in direct contrast to the bluster and boasting of the modern political moment and of the president who nominated him. He began (as any nominee should) by thanking the family members and mentors who made him the man — and judge — he is today, but his statement really took shape when he articulated the proper role of the judge:
Mr. Chairman, these days we sometimes hear judges cynically described a politicians in robes, seeking to enforce their own politics rather than striving to apply the law impartially. If I thought that were true, I’d hang up the robe. The truth is, I just don’t believe that’s what a life in the law is about. As a lawyer working for many years in the trial court trenches, I saw judges and juries – while human and imperfect – striving hard every day to fairly decide the cases I put to them. As a judge now for more than a decade I’ve watched my colleagues spend long days worrying over cases. Sometimes the answers we reach aren’t the ones we personally prefer. Sometimes the answers follow us home at night and keep us up. But the answers we reach are always the ones we believe the law requires. And for all its imperfections, I believe the rule of law in this nation truly is a wonder, and that it’s no wonder that it’s the envy of the world.