More Such Gorsuch
With Neil Gorsuch confirmed, people are writing think pieces about what it'll mean for the Supreme Court. The answer is not much, probably--at least so far as replacing Scalia.
Still, you get articles like this in The Hill with lines like
But some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor and fellow adherent to the originalist view of the Constitution.
The piece then goes on to offer almost no evidence beyond some slight hysteria.
The big argument for some is Gorsuch's view on Chevron deference. They call Chevron a precedent "even" Scalia upheld, as if a court's level of deference to executive branch officials falls in a clear place along the liberal/'conservative spectrum. In fact, in the Mead case, the eight-Justice majority limited Chevron deference with only Scalia dissenting.
Truth is, it'll be most unlikely if Gorsuch is somehow more "conservative" (a term neither he nor Scalia would use) than the man he's replacing. Sure, if Justice Kennedy or even Roberts left, I could see some concern, but Scalia?
In fact, there are opinions Gorsuch wrote that suggest he has, at the very least, a "liberal" streak, and anyway, the general experience with "conservative" Justices is they get more "liberal" through the years.
No one knows how any Justice will turn out until they're on the Court. If Gorsuch distinguishes himself, it'll likely be through his style and demeanor. Scalia was reportedly well-liked by his colleagues, but his opinions, especially in dissent, were often caustic, suggesting he was not willing to compromise.
Perhaps Gorsuch will compromise. What would this mean? It could mean he'll draw more people to his side, which would mean more "conservative" victories, though they may be watered down. Or it could mean the opposite, where he'll be willing to join the "liberal" side, but in opinions that don't go as far as they would have otherwise.
It's true liberals lost huge when Gorsuch became Scalia's replacement, but that's no reason to exaggerate the damage.