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Neil Gorsuch Sworn in, Second-Ever Coloradan on U.S. Supreme Court

President Donald Trump and Neil Gorsuch at today's swearing-in ceremony.
President Donald Trump and Neil Gorsuch at today's swearing-in ceremony. White House via YouTube

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Claim: Neil Gorsuch might have never become a federal judge without help from a Colorado billionaire

TRUE

Phil Anschutz.
Free Lunch Photography
This week, the New York Times published a piece headlined, "Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire," which traces his connections to Colorado's own Phil Anschutz.

Turns out that Gorsuch represented Anschutz as an outside counsel last decade and is a partner in Walden Group LLC with Cannon Harvey, who handles venture-capital matters for Big Phil. (Walden Group shouldn't be confused with Anschutz's film company, Walden Media, which has made films such as the recent sap-fest A Dog's Purpose — but the name probably wasn't chosen at random.)

Anschutz wrote a personal letter to President George W. Bush's counsel touting Gorsuch's judgeship and noting that he'd talked to Colorado Senator Wayne Allard about the matter. Lo and behold, Gorsuch was nominated — the first step on his path toward becoming a Supreme Court hopeful.

Claim: Neil Gorsuch said he was in favor of the "separation of the white and black races"

FALSE

After Gorsuch's nomination, a couple of racist lines he supposedly uttered in 2012 began circulating via Twitter. The comment: "Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race and separation of the white and black races. This goal must include freeing of the American media and government from subservient Jewish interests."

In actuality, the deliverer of these words was David Duke, onetime grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. They date from 1978.

Nonetheless, civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner, who went to Columbia with Gorsuch, maintains that the nominee's racial views fell short of enlightened back in his college days. "He had something against every progressive cause," Kushner said in a recent interview. "He criticized divestment movements, he criticized the protest against gentrification…. He was hostile toward issues involving racism, back when he wasn’t trying to lay the groundwork to try and become a federal judge."

Claim: Neil Gorsuch was unanimously confirmed to a federal court by Congress in 2006

TRUE ENOUGH


Gorsuch at his introduction as Supreme Court nominee.
YouTube file photo
This one calls for a little interpretation. Gorsuch's nomination to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals prompted so little opposition that he was actually confirmed by a voice vote. It's possible, then, that some members were less than enthusiastic about him — but if that's the case, they didn't speak up loudly enough to have been noticed in any reports about the process.

We're guessing many Democrats will be less shy this time around.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts