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By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – CBS News reported Saturday that Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is the leading candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

Gorsuch is known as a conservative who would fit in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.\

It was before a 2013 Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention that Gorsuch spoke of the scolding some Supreme Court justices can take for upholding their Federalist values.

“They are mocked, often viciously, personally; leading media voices to call them deceiving,” he said.

Former Colorado U.S. Attorney Mike Norton, a member of the conservative Centennial Institute, speaks highly of Gorsuch personally and professionally.

“He says what he means and means what he says, and comes down typically on the conservative side of the agenda,” Norton said.

Former Colorado U.S. Attorney Mike Norton is interviewed by CBS4's Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

Former Colorado U.S. Attorney Mike Norton is interviewed by CBS4’s Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

That was true in the Hobby Lobby case in which Gorsuch came down on the side of the employer which, for religious reasons, did not want to cover contraception in health care insurance for its workers as dictated under the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 10th Circuit decision.

Peg Perl is an attorney with the liberal Courts Matter Colorado Coalition which can be at odds with the judge’s decisions.

“There’s a bit of a pattern of his decisions choosing corporations over ordinary American citizens,” Perl said.

Peg Perl, attorney with the liberal Courts Matter Colorado Coalition (credit: CBS)

Peg Perl, attorney with the liberal Courts Matter Colorado Coalition (credit: CBS)

If appointed to the high court and confirmed, Gorsuch could be there a very long time. He is just 49 years old.

Gorsuch joked to the Federalist gathering in 2013, “Donning a robe does not make me any smarter, but the robe does mean something, and not just hiding the coffee stains on my shirt.”

Judge Neil Gorsuch (credit: CBS)

Judge Neil Gorsuch (credit: CBS)

Gorsuch is among three Colorado jurists whose names were mentioned by President Trump in a list of 21. The others were Chief 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Tim Tymkovich and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid.

Gorsuch’s mother was the late Anne Gorsuch who was the first female to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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