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Neil Gorsuch Plagiarism Charge: Politico Throws a 'Hail Mary'

Image: Neil Gorsuch Plagiarism Charge: Politico Throws a 'Hail Mary'

Neil Gorsuch testifies during confirmation hearing. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 07:00 AM

Critics of Neil Gorsuch leveled a last-minute "Hail Mary" plagiarism charge against him as his Supreme Court nomination seemed assured, whether by breaking a Democrat filibuster or the Senate going nuclear.

Politico claimed it received documents showing Gorsuch allegedly copied material of several authors for his own book but failed to cite them.

Politico said passages from a 1984 Indiana Law Journal academic article appeared almost verbatim in the 10th chapter of Gorsuch's 2006 book "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia."

It claimed that Gorsuch appeared to borrow ideas, quotes, and structures of scholarly and legal work from others without citing them in the book and another academic article published in 2000.

Campbell Law School associate professor Elizabeth Berenguer told Politico the Gorsuch passages that appeared to come to the Indiana Law Journal would have been investigated "as a potential violation of our plagiarism policy."

"It's similar enough to the original work. I would apply an academic writing standard. Even if it were a legal opinion, it would be plagiarism under either," said Berenguer.

Aaron Blake, senior reporter for the Washington Post blog The Fix, called the 11th-hour allegations a "Hail Mary" attempt by the Democrats to try to stop Gorsuch's elevation to the Supreme Court.

"But you also have to wonder where this has been for the two-plus months since Gorsuch was nominated," said Blake. "… And if this is the most damning evidence that Democrats could find to stop Gorsuch's nomination, that's a pretty good microcosm of their efforts to keep him off the high court."

"Absent further examples of academic wrongdoing in the nominee's extensive works, it seems a pretty minor offense. At best, Democrats could argue this warrants further research of Gorsuch's writings and a delay."

Abigail Kuzma, author of the Indiana Law Journal article cited by Politico, which describes a baby born with Down syndrome and an abnormal esophageal passages, failed to back up Politico's plagiarism claim in a statement released by the White House, noted the New York Daily News.

"I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar," Kuzma said in the statement, per the Daily News. "These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the 'Baby/Infant Doe' case that occurred in 1982. 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."

The Senate on Thursday faces a possible cloture vote to end debate on Gorsuch's nomination, reported CBS News. If Republicans cannot get the 60 votes needed to end debate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would move to change the Senate rules that would eliminate filibusters for Supreme Court nominees, called the "nuclear option."

The rule change would lower the 60-vote threshold now in place for Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority. CBS News said 44 Democrats have vowed to vote against ending debate.

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Critics of Neil Gorsuch leveled last-minute plagiarism charges against him before his Supreme Court nomination vote after Politico claimed it received documents showing he allegedly copied material of several authors for his own book but failed to cite them.
neil gorsuch, plagiarism, charge, politico, hail mary
Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 07:00 AM
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