The interminable U.S. Senate proceeding concerning the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonin Scalia gave senators plenty of time to examine in detail the opinions he wrote as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and to question him about them. Every imaginable line of inquiry concerning those opinions was taken when he was grilled in the Judiciary Committee hearings — except one. No one asked him about his writing style.

The first thing any reader notices about his opinions (after reading the result, of course) is the style of his opinions. They’re actually readable. He uses contractions like “they’re.” He uses short sentences. He writes so that an intelligent reader not versed in the law can understand what he is saying. He does this without sacrificing legal precision. We understand that Justice Elena Kagan was heard to say, long before the last election, that her stylistic hero was Judge Gorsuch.

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