When President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday night that Neil Gorsuch was his choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, former UM law professor Rob Natelson knew was very familiar with the name.

Natelson, the Constitutional Fellow at the Independence Institute in Denver, recalled how Gorsuch, in his capacity on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, referenced Natelson’s writings, and by name, as well.

“In 2014, in a very public case, he dissented from an opinion written by the 10th circuit court of appeals here in Denver, being a member of that court,” Natelson said. “In doing so, he cut to the heart of the matter and cited one of my better known Law Review articles. His dissent was a model of clarity and went to the heart of the matter as some of the other judges did not.”

Natelson said the case itself revolved around the constitutionality of a provision in the Colorado constitution,” he continued. “A group that disagreed with that provision claimed that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the state from having such a rule. I had earlier done an article dealing exactly with that section of the Constitution, and my article found that there was no conflict at all. The article, by the way, was written when I was teaching law at the University of Montana.”

Natelson said having legal scholars cite his work is always gratifying.

“Anytime you write, you always wonder about the reception you’re going to get,” he said. “I had earlier been cited by several U.S. Supreme Court justices including Justice Thomas, and the person who Judge Gorsuch has been nominated to replace, the late Antonin Scalia, who had cited my work the previous year. However, I had not been cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th District before, and the following year, in 2015, Chief Justice John Roberts followed up with a citation as well. It’s a vote of confidence, and an indication that your research is valued by the wider legal community.”

Pundits say Gorsuch will face stiff opposition from Democrats in the Senate.

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