Wall Street Journal letter (This letter was in response to a Wall Street Journal editorial “The Tempting of Neil Gorsuch” criticizing Judge Gorsuch for joining the four liberal justices in ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma was still an Indian reservation. Congress had passed a law creating the reservation and never repealed or replaced it. Chief Justice Roberts and the minority “Conservatives” reasoned that the Court should look at “all the surrounding circumstance” rather than just the statutes.)
Justice Gorsuch is behaving exactly as a judge should. It is not the role of a judge to divine unwritten congressional intent in the absence of ambiguity in what Congress did write. That is the path to judicial activism—no less offensive when one is happy with the outcome.
The perennial uproar over the appointment of Supreme Court justices arises from the notion that the court is some sort of super-legislative body empowered to supply a remedy for the omissions of Congress. Your editorial, alas, encourages that view.
Brian R. Merrick
West Barnstable, Mass.
The writer is a retired Massachusetts District Court judge.