Supreme Court Nominations

Secretive billionaire lobbied for Gorsuch's 10th Circuit nomination; the two men have longtime ties

  • Print

Judge Neil Gorsuch

Judge Neil Gorsuch.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch obtained his seat on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a secretive billionaire with whom he has longtime ties lobbied for his nomination.

The New York Times has a story that explores Gorsuch’s ties with Philip F. Anschutz, who has an estimated worth of $12.6 billion. Anschutz inherited an oil company and expanded his holdings to include businesses such as telecommunications companies, sports teams and conservative publications—such as the Weekly Standard and the Washington Examiner.

Gorsuch represented Anschutz and his companies when he worked at the Washington, D.C., law firm Kellogg Huber in the early 2000s. According to the Times, he is “a semiregular speaker” at Anschutz’s annual dove-hunting retreats for wealthy and politically prominent people. He also partly owns a company with two top associates of Anschutz’s. The company owns a 40-acre property in the mountains near Denver, where they built a vacation home.

The Times spoke with Northwestern University law professor Steven Lubet, who said Gorsuch’s ties to Anschutz shouldn’t be a problem, as long as he recuses himself from Supreme Court cases that involve significant Anschutz interests.

Gorsuch recused himself from more than 1,000 cases while on the 10th Circuit, and more than 50 of those cases involved companies with ties to Anschutz, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.

The National Law Journal reported on notes of a talk Gorsuch gave at one of Anschutz’s retreats in which he criticized the civil discovery process. “Not long ago, we used to have trials without discovery,” he said. “Now we have discovery without trial.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.