In sharp contrast with the man who nominated him, Gorsuch worries about abuses of the government’s power to take people’s property “for public use.” In June 2017, when the Court declined to hear a case that raised the question of whether a state can impose limits on the “just compensation” it owes for takings under the Fifth Amendment, Gorsuch, joined by Clarence Thomas, urged his colleagues to address that issue at the “next opportunity.”
That pairing was notable because Gorsuch is on record as admiring Thomas’s passionate dissent from the widely condemned 2005 decision in which the Court approved the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another in the name of economic development. Big businesses routinely use such arrangements to override the wishes of little people who get in the way of their plans.
On the same day that Thomas joined Gorsuch in calling for closer scrutiny of eminent domain, Gorsuch joined Thomas in dissenting from the Court’s refusal to hear a case challenging California’s requirement that people who want to carry guns for self-defense persuade local police officials that they have “good cause” to do so. Such discretionary carry permit policies favor the rich, famous, and well-connected while preventing ordinary people from exercising the right to bear arms.