09:55, June 13 297 0 abajournal.com

2017-06-13 09:55:05
Gorsuch starts his first Supreme Court opinion with alliterative opening line

Justice Neil Gorsuch got a chance to display his much-praised writing style in his first Supreme Court opinion on Monday.

The unanimous decision (PDF) found that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to companies that buy defaulted debt and try to collect it themselves.

During his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch said judges should be bound by the text of laws, and he adhered to that view in applying the statutory definition of “debt collector.” It’s possible to imagine a statute that applies the law to anyone who tries to collect a debt, but it’s not the job of the judiciary to rewrite the law, he wrote in the opinion.

“It is never our job to rewrite a constitutionally valid statutory text,” Gorsuch wrote, “under the banner of speculation about what Congress might have done had it faced a question that, on everyone’s account, it never faced.”

Fox News says the opinion showed Gorsuch’s “famed flair” while USA Today describes the opinion as “lively.” The National Law Journal points to Gorsuch’s opening line, which the publication describes as “accessible, alliterative and jargon-free.”

The line describes the problems the law was intended to address. “Disruptive dinnertime calls, downright deceit, and more besides drew Congress’s eye to the debt collection industry,” he wrote. “From that scrutiny emerged the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.”

The case is Henson v. Santander Consumer USA.

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