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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Gorsuch's Plagiarism Is Worthy of Embarrassment

But the copying found in the judge's book isn't disqualifying for the Supreme Court.
Not perfect after all.

Not perfect after all.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s probably naive to think that there could be a nuanced conversation about Judge Neil Gorsuch’s citation of sources in his 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” But that’s precisely what we need.

There’s no doubt that in at least one extended passage, Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, copied wording from an article in the Indiana Law Journal with only trivial changes and without citing the article. There’s even a footnote that’s replicated verbatim from the article, down to the exact same use of ellipses in citing a pediatrics textbook. In academic settings, this would be considered plagiarism, albeit of a fairly minor kind. And the citation of the textbook -- a primary source -- while failing to cite the article -- a secondary source -- implies knowing borrowing, rather than an accident.