Plagiarism Accusations Surface About Gorsuch
Though an author he's accused of copying defends him against the allegation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2017 9:15 AM CDT
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on Capitol Hill in March.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – Senators who oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court might have a little more ammunition to work with this week: Both Politico and BuzzFeed are out with reports suggesting that Gorsuch copied other authors without attribution in his writings, particularly in his 1986 book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. One quick caveat: The author he’s accused of pilfering from in that book defends him. "I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar," says Abigail Lawlis Kuzma. She says the passages about a 1982 case involving a baby with Down syndrome were "factual, not analytical in nature," and "it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language." Politico, however, showed the writings in question to six experts and finds disagreement on that.

“I’ve never seen a plagiarism code that this would not be in violation of,” says Syracuse University professor Rebecca Moore Howard. And an associate law professor at Campbell Law School says Gorsuch’s writing would be investigated "as a potential violation of our plagiarism policy. It’s similar enough to the original work." Both Politico and BuzzFeed go into depth with comparisons. One example:

  • Kuzma, in her Indiana Law Journal article: “Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula indicates that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus.”
  • Gorsuch, in his book: “Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula means that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus.”
The White House is defending Gorsuch from what it calls a "false attack," as is National Review writer Ed Whelan: "Surprise, surprise. Another desperate 11th-hour smear, something that appears to have become a rite of passage for Republican Supreme Court nominees." The full Senate was expected to vote on Gorsuch later this week, with Republicans poised to exercise the "nuclear option" to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

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