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Gorsuch Gives SCOTUS Liberals a Win in Two Criminal-Law Cases

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Gorsuch wotes with liberals in two criminal cases

In a Supreme Court term in which many observers have been focused on the Court’s newest conservative Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, one of the more interesting developments has involved his slightly senior colleague and fellow Trump appointee, Neil Gorsuch. In two criminal-law cases handed down in the last week of the term, Gorsuch has given the Court’s four-Justice liberal bloc the key vote it needed to form a majority, and he has written the lead opinions.

In United States v. Davis, a case involving the application of federal statutes stipulating additional penalties for “crimes of violence” committed with firearms, Gorsuch concluded the definition of “crimes of violence” was unconstitutionally void for vagueness. As the Washington Post observed, Gorsuch followed the approach of his mentor and predecessor, Antonin Scalia, in interpreting federal statutes:

In the gun case, Gorsuch assumed the role of the man he replaced, Antonin Scalia, a conservative who sided with liberal justices in similar criminal cases involving laws that lower courts deemed hard to decipher. He also broke with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, a fellow nominee of President Trump, who wrote a dissent in the case.


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