This column by ACRU Fellow Ken Klukowski was published April 4, 2017 by Breitbart.
WASHINGTON — Democrats are launching a last-minute attack against Judge Neil Gorsuch that some say smacks of desperation, latching onto a leftwing publication accusing this Harvard- and Oxford-educated scholar of plagiarism.
Gorsuch has written thousands of pages as a federal judge. Prior to that, with not only a law degree from Harvard but also a D.Phil. (the UK version of a Ph.D.) from Oxford, Gorsuch became a published academic scholar. On the eve of his confirmation to join the U.S. Supreme Court, his critics are accusing him of three instances of plagiarism.
Allegations of plagiarism have come from both Buzzfeed and Politico.
One person Gorsuch is accused of plagiarizing, Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, flatly refuted the attack. “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar,” she began. “Given that these passages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language.”
Emeritus Professor Jon Finnis of Oxford University agreed. Finnis supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation, which contains some of the allegedly plagiarized material. He responds, “None of the allegations has any substance or justification.” He adds, “Neil Gorsuch’s writing and citing was easily and well within the proper and accepted standards of scholarly research and writing in the field of study in which he and I work.”
Professor Robert George of Princeton University was the general editor for Gorsuch’s publisher, the Princeton University Press. “I can only say that [these allegations’] timing and substance (or, more to the point, lack of substance) makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is a politically motivated effort to smear him in the hope of derailing his confirmation,” George surmised.
“Judge Gorsuch did not attempt to steal other people’s intellectual property … In no case did he seek credit for insights or analysis that had been purloined,” George continued. Noting that Gorsuch’s book went through a rigorous peer review process under the auspices of Princeton before being accepted for publication, George concluded, “Not only is there no fire, there isn’t even any smoke.”
“This false attack has been strongly refuted by highly regarded academic experts, including those who reviewed, professionally examined, and edited Judge Gorsuch’s scholarly writings, and even the author of the main piece cited in the false attack,” said White House spokesman Steven Cheung. “There is only one explanation for this baseless, last-second smear of Judge Gorsuch: those desperate to justify the unprecedented filibuster of a well-qualified and mainstream nominee to the Supreme Court.”
A final vote to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is expected Friday.