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Gorsuch, as promised: An independent originalist

April 18. 2018 6:04PM

Conservatives may be disappointed that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with the court’s liberal wing this week in a decision limiting the federal government’s authority to deport an immigrant who had committed a crime.

But Gorsuch’s concurrence in the case is in line with the principles he supported during his confirmation.

The one area where Gorsuch differed from his predecessor Antonin Scalia is in giving less deference to government in interpreting vague rules and regulations.

In this week’s 5-4 decision, with Gorsuch providing the swing vote, the court found that a law requiring deportation for aliens who commit a “crime of violence” was too vague to be enforced.

Gorsuch wrote “no one should be surprised that the Constitution looks unkindly on any law so vague that reasonable people cannot understand its terms and judges do not know where to begin in applying it.”

Congress has the power to require deportation of immigrants who commit crimes, but it must set the rules ahead of time, rather than leaving it to bureaucrats and courts to decide.

Congress should correct its mistake, and define which crimes warrant deportation.

Gorsuch is quickly proving his independence.

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