When asked by Dean Matt Parlow of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law how he wants to be remembered, Neil Gorsuch might have answered by listing his many accomplishments. Instead, the Supreme Court justice offered a singular response.
“I want to be forgotten,” Gorsuch told an audience of about 600 at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif. “We remember presidents and we remember our elected leaders for good reasons. They make the laws, they do war, they do peace. What’s a judge supposed to do? A good judge is supposed to take this wonderful inheritance of our Constitution and our rule of law, which is so strong, and make sure that it’s handed down to the next generation. That’s it. Not to exercise personal will, but legal judgment, so a good judge should probably be forgotten.”
On Sept. 11, Parlow moderated a wide-ranging discussion with Gorsuch, covering topics that included the cultural dynamic of the court, the importance of civility in discourse and Gorsuch’s new book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”
Gorsuch was appointed in 2017 by President Trump to fill the associate justice position previously held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch’s book is a collection of essays about the U.S. Constitution.
The event reflects a growing connection between Chapman and the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. In 2018, the University formed a partnership with the library, establishing the Richard Nixon Foundation Fellows Program, which offers educational and research opportunities to mid-career Foreign Service officers from the U.S. State Department. As part of their studies in Chapman’s M.A. Program in War and Society, Nixon Foundation Fellows conduct archival research at the Nixon Library.