None of this should be surprising. As I noted in these very pages just more than a year ago, Gorsuch is serious about the way in which constitutional design protects individual rights. That’s the whole point of features like the separation of powers, after all, which isn’t just some antiquated attempt to show how much James Madison learned at Princeton. Indeed, two of Gorsuch’s most-noted opinions in the 10th Circuit involved crimmigration, albeit in the context of executive branch power.
It’s in administrative law, by the way, where Gorsuch can be expected to go farther than Scalia in enforcing constitutional structure and pushing back on government overreach. As others have noted, he’s less beholden to deference doctrines and prefers greater judicial scrutiny of administrative action. So expect Gorsuch to be more solicitous of immigrants, criminals, and every other kind of litigant caught up in the administrative state.
It doesn’t make him a squish. It makes him an originalist.