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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Visits Pepperdine Law

United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the Pepperdine Law community to discuss his new book, A Republic, If You Can Keep It. In a conversation led by Dean Paul Caron, with former law clerks David Feder and Tobi Young, Justice Gorsuch reflected on the personal values he formed and stories he collected over decades of a career in the American justice system. "Oh, I've got a lot of stories," he said, opening the program with a smile.

More than 300 Pepperdine Law students and dozens of invited guests packed the school's Caruso Auditorium for the event. Gorsuch addressed the students especially, gesturing to Feder, who helped him write the book. "You can do this, too," he said to the students. "You don't have to be 65 and gray-haired to write a book."

"I didn't want to do this book tour without spending time with students at some place" Gorsuch continued. "I wanted to communicate to young people, and young lawyers in particular, why I think our constitution is so incredibly special."

Gorsuch is known for his adherence to originalism, or the interpretation of the Constitution that holds true to the plain text and public meaning at the time of its enactment. "Originalism is about recognizing that we have a republic of we the people, that you own, and I don't" he told the audience. "The Constitution is what protects that. I'm not saying the Constitution's perfect – the original version had two major defects. It didn't have equal rights for women or for minorities. Nine old judges didn't fix those problems. We the people did."

The lunchtime program opened with a color guard presentation by law students who are veterans of three different branches of the US military, and a performance of the national anthem by another law student. Having arrived at Pepperdine University on the day of its annual 9/11 memorial service, Justice Gorsuch and his team were able to view Waves of Flags—the 2,977 flags that are planted on the school's lawn to honor those who died in the 2001 tragedies. His words for students resonated on this occasion. "The one message I want to send to this crowd in particular is the need for courage. Don't be afraid of a life in public service; we need you."

About A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Debuting on September 10, 2019, Neil Gorsuch's latest book shares personal reflections, speeches, and essays that focus on the remarkable gift the framers left us in the Constitution. He draws on his 30-year career as a lawyer, teacher, judge, and justice to explore essential aspects of our Constitution, its separation of powers, and the liberties it is designed to protect.

The Pepperdine University Graphic also covered the event, which may be found here