In an interview with College President Larry Arnn on Feb. 22, White House Counsel Don McGahn praised President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
“What the president looks for first is people with excellent credentials,” McGhan said. “What he looks for is folks who have demonstrated some sort of courage, some sort of ability to stand strong in face of adversity, people who you know when they get on the bench will not change and turn into someone else.”
Arnn noted Gorsuch’s expertise on issues related to Chevron deference, a term referencing a Supreme Court case from 1984 that is often cited by courts to allow unelected agencies — not Congress — to pass regulations.
“The EPA, for example, is told to make the air clean and the water clean,” McGahn said. “Well there’s not a lot of detail on that, which leaves the bureaucracy to fashion what would otherwise be thought of as legislation. Congress used to legislate more; they don’t seem to legislate much anymore. They tend to do broader statutes.”
McGhan noted Gorsuch’s constitutional approach to this bureaucratic sort of legislation.
“He, frankly, stuck his neck out on an issue that anyone else would fear would hurt their chances of promotion to a higher court. Judge Gorsuch was not that type of person,” McGhan said.
So far, McGhan noted, the president has nominated a number of people who have experience, if not expertise, with regard to the government’s regulatory apparatus. The judicial selection is also less of a single-issue litmus test than past years, McGhan said.
“This president is looking more for a well-rounded holistic person that really understands separation of powers, the role of the regulatory state, the role of the legislature and the executive.”
Arnn followed up by questioning McGhan about governmental separation of powers and about what each branch can do with regard to cutting back on bureaucratic regulations.
The first thing would be for Congress to pay more attention to the details of legislation,” McGhan said. “Second, oversight is very important…They’ve got to really roll up their sleeves and see how this legislation works out, not just do the sort of oversight that gets headlines, but do the oversight that gets into the nitty-gritty of how laws are being implemented…Then the third thing Congress can do is, with all due respect, read the Constitution.”
One way in which the Trump administration has increased oversight on regulations is with regard to an executive order that directed two regulations to be removed from the books for every one instituted. That ratio is actually around 22:1, according to McGhan.
“The order shows how much the president is committed to cutting through the red tape and getting back to the more familiar structures that the Founders and previous generations have relied on.”
“Dr. Arnn did a great job during the interview,” senior Razi Lane said. “He was able to explore how the legal priorities of the Trump administration have manifested in the executive orders that have been signed recently, which I thought was very good to know.”
Lane also said Judge Gorsuch was a “phenomenal” choice by the president.
“I think it was great for them to have a conversation about how critical the role is of our judges in our current American regime, especially on the Supreme Court,” Lane said.
Senior Katarina Bradford said she enjoyed learning about McGahn’s role at the White House and how he advises President Trump on what federal judges to appoint in the federal court system.
“In the past two years I’ve had experience in working at a law firm that specializes in religious liberty,” Bradford said. “The fact that Don McGahn has advised President Trump to appoint these amazing conservative federal judges has allowed us to make massive leaps and bounds for the cause of religious liberty and many other conservative causes.”
McGhan said Trump ran for president based on constitutional principles.
“You don’t hear from the mainstream media about this, but there’s so much good work going on trying to restore us back to the fundamentals.”