Justice Neil Gorsuch, another Irish American [but not Catholic] judge for Supreme Court

Justice Neil Gorsuch, another Irish American [but not Catholic] judge for Supreme Court

IrishCentral Staff February 01, 2017

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch and President Donald Trump.

The new Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, though Episcopalian, is all Irish Catholic ancestry on his mother’s side.

His mother, Anne Irene McGill was born on April 21 1942, in Casper, Wyoming. Her father, an Irish Catholic surgeon, Dr J.J. McGill, with Donegal roots, married another Irish American Dorothy O’Grady. Doctor McGill moved the family to Denver from Wyoming when Anne was an infant.

She had a spectacular political and government career and, under President Ronald Reagan, Anne Gorsuch Burford (her married names [divorced twice but buried in the Church]) became the first female to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Justice Neil Gorsuch’s mother was also voted Outstanding Freshman Legislator of the Colorado State House of Representatives. She served on the National Commission on Uniform Sentencing. In her final years, she was in private practice with a concentration on children’s advocacy.

Her 2004 death notice stated, “She is survived by her children Neil (Washington D.C.), Stephanie and J.J. Gorsuch, (both of Denver); five grandchildren. Also by her mother, Dorothy O’Grady McGill, sisters, Mary Edwards, Theresa Peace, Dorothy McGill, Veronica Urban, Rosie Binge and brother, Joe McGill.

“Preceded in death by her father, Dr. Joseph John McGill.”

Irish Catholicism ran deep in the family. Her sister, Dorothy, Neil’s aunt, was a prominent Democratic Party operative in El Paso, Texas, known for her work with immigrants.

Her obituary noted that “Dorothy was a lifelong, devout Roman Catholic. She attended Mass daily, prayed the rosary, and was a patron of the Virgin and of St. Jude, often petitioning them for their mercy and intercession. At the age of seven, her parents took her to Mexico City where she celebrated her first Holy Communion at the main altar in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica.”

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One comment on “Justice Neil Gorsuch, another Irish American [but not Catholic] judge for Supreme Court

  1. Neil Gorsuch’s Catholic connections

    FEBRUARY 1, 2017

    While President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court is an Episcopalian—and he attends an Episcopal church in Boulder, Colorado—Neil Gorsuch has some significant Catholic connections.

    To begin with, he was educated by Jesuits. Growing up, he attended Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland (“Georgetown Prep,” to those of us who grew up nearby). He went on to study at Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.

    It’s at Oxford where John Allen at Crux has dug up an even more intriguing connection:

    At Oxford he studied under Australian legal philosopher John Finnis, who converted to Catholicism in 1962, who’s drawn on St. Thomas Aquinas in his work, who later became a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission and whose work there is believed to have influenced St. Pope John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor on the importance of moral absolutes.

    Regarding Finnis:

    For Finnis there are seven basic goods; life, knowledge, play, aesthetic experience, sociability of friendship, practical reasonableness and religion. Life for Finnis involves all aspects of vitality that enable a person to gain strong willpower. The second aspect of well-being is knowledge and is described as the pure desire to know, simply out of curiosity, as well as a concerning interest and desire for truth. The third aspect, play, is regarded as self-evident as there is no real point of performing such activities, only for pure enjoyment. Aesthetic experience is the fourth aspect and is considered similarly to play however; it does not essentially need an action to occur. The fifth aspect for Finnis is sociability where it is realised through the creation of friendships, that these relationships are fundamental goods. Practical reasonableness is the sixth basic good where it is one’s ability to use their intellect in deciding choices that ultimately shape one’s nature. The final basic good is religion; it encompasses the acknowledgment of a concern for a simplified distinct form of order, where an individual’s sense of responsibility is addressed; it is “all those beliefs that can be called matters of ultimate concern; questions about the point of human existence.”

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