Gary Johnson


As governor of New Mexico, Johnson appointed judges to the Supreme Court of Mexico. Johnson has professed a commitment to traditional legal principles, but he has struggled to articulate a consistent approach to the issue and has been forced to distance himself1 from his running mate’s praise for liberal judges like Stephen Breyer and Merrick Garland. He has also criticized Supreme Court rulings he disagreed with.


STATEMENTS ON JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS AND JUDICIAL PHILOSOPHY

  • On judicial nominations to the Supreme Court: “Really, there are going to be no litmus test. You're going to appoint good people, and you're going appoint people that look at the Constitution of original intent.” 2
  • On “litmus tests” for judicial nominees: “Although we don’t have litmus tests, [] Kelo [v. City of New London] really stands out as a litmus test, in my opinion.” 3
  • On standards for judicial nominees: “[We are] really going to be bipartisan . . . trying to bring together both sides of this.” 4
  • On re-nominating liberal judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court (Johnson’s running mate, Bill Weld): “Merrick Garland, I think, would have been a very good pick [for the Supreme Court], and he's nominated by Obama. Everyone sort of agrees on that.” 5
  • On religious liberty: “I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole.” 6
  • On religious liberty (3/31/2016): “Q: But should a Jewish baker have to bake the cake for the Nazi wedding? A: That would be my contention, yes.” 7

STATEMENTS ON SIGNIFICANT COURT DECISIONS

Kelo v. City of New London (eminent domain):

“[I] think Kelo is one that really does stand out. Although we don't have litmus tests [for justices], but [opposition to] Kelo really stands out as a litmus test, in my opinion.“ 8

Roe v. Wade & Planned Parenthood v. Casey (abortion):

"The law of the land . . . is Casey v. Planned Parenthood [sic]. And what the law of the land currently says is that you, as a woman, have the right to an abortion up to viability of the fetus. And they define – the Supreme Court – defines viability of the fetus as being able to sustain the life of the fetus outside of the womb, even if by artificial means. That’s the law of the land. I am not supporting a change in the law of the land." 9

Zubik v. Burwell (religious liberty):

“Q: Can the current federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] be applied to protect things like the wedding photographer and the Little Sisters of the Poor? A: The problem is I don't think you can cut out a little chunk there. I think what you're going to end up doing is open up a plethora of discrimination that you never dreamed could even exist. And it'll start with Muslims." 10

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (religious liberty):

“Well, I’m not going to second guess the Supreme Court . . .” 11

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Obamacare):

“It’s a tax. I accept the fact that it’s a tax.” 12

United States v. Texas (executive immigration amnesty):

“We argue constitutionality, but appropriate, yes.“ 13

KEY VOTES

• Dan McKinnon III – 6/8/1996
• Patricio Serna – 5/2000
• Paul J. Kennedy – 9/13/2002