ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Mostly Cloudy
H 88° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    84°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 88° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
AP Interview: Gorsuch rues loss of civility but mum on Trump
Close

AP Interview: Gorsuch rues loss of civility but mum on Trump

AP Interview: Gorsuch rues loss of civility but mum on Trump
Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's first appointee to the high court, speaks to The Associated Press about events that have influenced his life and the loss of civility in public discourse, in his chambers at the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Gorsuch has written a new book on the importance of civics and civility, and a defense of his preferred originalism method of interpreting laws and the Constitution. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

AP Interview: Gorsuch rues loss of civility but mum on Trump

Justice Neil Gorsuch is following the path of Supreme Court colleagues-turned-authors in a new book in which he laments the loss of civility in public discourse.

The 52-year-old justice wrote "A Republic, If You Can Keep It" because Americans should remember that their political opponents "love this country as much as we do," Gorsuch said in an interview with The Associated Press in his Supreme Court office. The book is being published Tuesday.

But Gorsuch had little to say about President Donald Trump, who appointed him to the Supreme Court and who routinely brands his opponents dopes, losers, liars and worse.

"If you're asking me about politics, I'm not going to touch that," Gorsuch said.

All Gorsuch would say about Trump is that during the nomination process in 2017, the president "was very gracious to my family."

Penguin Random House gave Gorsuch a $225,000 advance for the book, a collection of speeches, essays and judicial decisions. Gorsuch also sets forth his view of the proper role of each branch of the federal government — the presidency, Congress and the courts — and defends his originalist approach to interpreting laws and the Constitution according to their meaning when written.

He is the latest justice, following Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer, to write a book while on the court.

Seated in his corner office a little over a month before the Oct. 7 start of the new Supreme Court term, Gorsuch appeared relaxed and upbeat. He showed off a plaque he brought back from his summer teaching sojourn in Padua, Italy, signed by "the boys" of the local police station. He'll travel to California and Texas to speak about his book at the Richard Nixon library and George W. Bush presidential center before the term begins, in addition to speaking at the National Archives in Washington.

One theme of the book is a common refrain among the justices when they speak in public, especially in the aftermath of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's tumultuous Senate confirmation hearings: Judges are not politicians in robes, even if their decisions in high-profile cases often can be predicted based on the president who appointed them.

"It's one thing to think that judges occasionally, mistakenly, wrongly decide cases based on who they like and who they dislike as parties. It's another thing to think that judges are just politicians who are supposed to do that. And I saw a lot of that thinking" during his own confirmation hearings in 2017, Gorsuch recalled.

In November, Chief Justice John Roberts offered a plain-spoken rebuke to Trump after the president described a judge who ruled against his asylum policy as an "Obama judge." ''We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them," Roberts said in response to a question from the AP.

While Gorsuch avoids personal attacks, he takes aim at judges and legal scholars who prefer a "living Constitution" that adapts to the times over the originalist view.

Among the criticisms of originalism is that the Constitution, as Breyer has said, uses broad language that the founders knew would have to be flexible to changes in society. Another is that originalism almost always leads to outcomes preferred by conservatives. "Baloney. Rubbish," Gorsuch said. "You know, the living Constitution is going to take your rights away and it's going to add ones that aren't there. ... We have a written Constitution. It's about honoring the words the people chose to adopt. What are the first three words of the Constitution? It's 'We the people,' not 'We the states,' not 'We the nine old judges.'"

It's the same sentiment he expressed in a speech to the conservative Federalist Society in 2017. "Originalism has regained its place at the table of constitutional interpretation, and textualism in the reading of statutes has triumphed. And neither one is going anywhere on my watch," he said then to thunderous applause.

In his book, Gorsuch makes a plea for kindness and manners, recounting advice from the English grandmother of his wife, Louise, who told him that he would regret things he did and things left undone, but that he would never be sorry for being kind.

And he notes that George Washington had to copy by hand all 110 rules of civility that were written by the Jesuits in 1595. In the interview, Gorsuch paraphrased one rule that he particularly liked.

"Do not speak so closely to another person with such enthusiasm that you bedew the other man with your spittle," he said, from a safe distance. "It's a good rule. It's a good rule."

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • The State Attorney's Office says a custodian at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs has been arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with attempted production of child pornography, after investigators say he filmed students in the girls' locker room.  According to the criminal complaint, 42-year-old Jason Goff is accused of filming students in the locker room sometime between mid to late August.  Investigators say two students reported finding a possible camera in a locked locker on August 22nd. When school administrators opened it up, they reported finding a cellphone that had been taped to the inside wall with the camera lens pointing out through a hole, aimed at the changing area.  The criminal complaint says a forensic review of the phone turned up images and videos of high school girls changing. Investigators says at the end of one of videos, the phone camera pans down to show Goff's photo ID badge. Additionally, the complaint says the phone also contained 'selfie' photos of Goff.  If ultimately convicted, Goff faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervise release.
  • Beginning Monday, NAS Jacksonville is warning neighbors there will likely be an increase in aircraft activity and noise due to training operations. NAS Jax says carrier-based jet fighters and other types of aircraft will be conducting training out of the base from September 15 through September 25. We're told this training is in support of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) operations.  If you have any noise complaints, you can send them to NASJAX_NOISE_COMPLAINTS@NAVY.MIL.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says a 22-year-old suspect is being charged with murder, after police say he was responsible for a carjacking on the Southside that ended with the victim dying.  According to police, a witness spotted the suspect, identified by JSO as Johnathan Green, jump into a victim's vehicle in a parking lot off of Beach Boulevard, near Southside Boulevard, just after 7:00 AM on August 23rd.  Police say the witness told them that the victim then jumped into the passenger seat and was hanging partially outside of the vehicle, when Green allegedly accelerated, causing the victim to be thrown out of the truck. JSO says that victim was taken to the hospital, but later died from his injuries on August 29th.  As for Green, police say he was arrested in the area on August 23rd and was charged at that time with carjacking and giving a false name to law enforcement. However, with the victim's death, we're told Green is also now being charged with murder/during certain felonies.
  • A federal judge sentenced actress Felicity Huffman to 14 days in prison on Friday after she admitted earlier this year to paying an admissions consultant to falsify her eldest daughter's college entrance exam. >> Read more trending news  Huffman, 56, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors said she paid admissions consultant William 'Rick' Singer $15,000, which she disguised as a charitable donation, to rig her daughter's SAT score. Authorities said her daughter was unaware of the arrangement. Update 3:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Prosecutors said Huffman has been ordered to self-report to a Bureau of Prisons facility Oct. 25 to begin her 14-day prison sentence. The facility was not immediately chosen. Her attorney asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to allow her to report to the facility in Dublin, California, which is closest to her home, WFXT reported. Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman to serve 14 days in jail and 250 hours of community service after she pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges leveled at her as part of a probe into a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme. In a statement read Friday in court, Huffman apologized to college officials and other students who were affected by her decision to participate in the bribery scheme. She said she felt ashamed of her choice. Prosecutors said prison time would deter others from committing similar crimes and noted that Huffman's reputation would likely recover. Prosecutors said she signed a movie deal with Netflix while awaiting sentencing, according to WFXT. Attorneys for Huffman argued against jail time for the 'Desperate Housewives' actress, pointing to her remorse and her lack of a previous criminal record, among other factors. Update 2:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman appeared in a courtroom on the third floor of the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday for a sentencing hearing. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was also in the courthouse, according to WFXT. He has not been charged as part of the case. Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 13: Huffman arrived at the federal courthouse in Boston on Friday afternoon ahead of her scheduled sentencing hearing. Original report: Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to sentence the 'Desperate Housewives' actress to one month in prison and supervised release, citing her deliberate and repeated deception of her daughter's high school, the college entrance exam system and college administrators. They have also asked she be fined $20,000. 'Her efforts weren't driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity,' prosecutors said last week in a sentencing memo filed in court. Authorities said Huffman coordinated with Singer to convince test administrators to give her daughter extended time to take the SAT in 2017, citing a 'learning difference.' She arranged to have her daughter take the test at a center affiliated with Singer, where her answers were altered to boost her score by about 400 points, prosecutors said. 'She could buy her daughter every conceivable legitimate advantage, introduce her to any number of useful personal connections, and give her a profound leg up on the competition simply because she would be applying to college as the daughter of a movie star,' prosecutors said in the sentencing memo. 'But Huffman opted instead to use her daughter's legitimate learning differences in service of a fraud on the system, one that Huffman knew, by definition, would harm some other student who would be denied admission because Huffman's daughter was admitted in his or her place, under false pretenses.' Attorneys for Huffman have asked Talwani to sentence her to one year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine, calling the incident out of character and noting her remorse for her part in the admissions scheme. 'In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,' Huffman wrote in a letter to the court filed last week. 'I honestly didn't and don't care about my daughter going to a prestigious college. I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor. That sounds hollow now, but, in my mind, I knew that her success or failure in theater or film wouldn't depend on her math skills. I didn't want my daughter to be prevented from getting a shot at auditioning doing what she loves because she can't do math.' Huffman is scheduled to appear Friday afternoon in the federal courthouse in Boston. Huffman was one of more than 50 people, including 34 parents, to be charged earlier this year with participating in the large-scale admissions scheme. Prosecutors said the parents involved paid Singer to bribe college coaches and rig test scores to get their children into elite universities. The scandal also led to the arrests of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both of whom are fighting the charges. The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared to other bribes alleged in the scheme. Some parents are accused of paying up to $500,000 to get their children into elite schools by having them labeled as recruited athletes for sports they didn't even play. Authorities say it's the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, with a total of 51 people charged. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Latest News Videos