Did Neil Gorsuch Found a ‘Fascism Forever’ Club in High School?

Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch once founded a club that bore the name “Fascism Forever,” his high school yearbook says – but it’s only a joke.

America, a Jesuit Review magazine, interviewed former classmates of Gorsuch who said there wasn’t actually such a club, despite the yearbook mention.

“…those with knowledge of the school back in the 1980s say there was no such club. The mention of it in the yearbook was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun at liberal peers who teased him about his fierce conservatism,” reported the magazine.

The name of the club – despite the joke intended – raised eyebrows now that liberals are mobilizing against Gorsuch, whose conservative philosophy is said to mirror that of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The New York Post says Gorsuch’s yearbook also listed him as “President of the Yard, Student Government” and president of the “Committee to reform The Beast” as well as a “Lousy Spanish Student.”

The yearbook dates to the 1980s, when Gorsuch, now 49, attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a private all boys prep school, according to U.S. News and World Report. The story is proof that, when it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court, everything a person has done or said will be open to scrutiny. Joke in high school at your own peril, perhaps.

Steve Ochs, a history teacher at the school when Gorsuch attended it, told America, the Jesuit Review: “There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists. The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.”

The name of Gorsuch’s old supposed club tied uncomfortably into criticism that Trump is authoritarian, so people jumped all over it on Twitter. Gorsuch graduated from high school in 1985.

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Others thought from the start that people were missing the humor in the tongue-in-cheek club name.

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The UK Daily Mail obtained copies of Gorsuch’s old school yearbook. “The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.,” the British news site reported.

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According to the Daily Mail, Gorsuch was president of and founded the Fascism Forever Club (although, again, it was a joke and didn’t really exist or meet, the Jesuit magazine says). The Daily Mail quoted the high school yearbook as saying, “In political circles, our tireless President Gorsuch’s ‘Fascism Forever Club’ happily jerked its knees against the increasingly ‘left-wing’ tendencies of the faculty.'”

The New York Post reported that Gorsuch is also seen in “a yearbook photo reading William F. Buckley’s 1959 conservative tome ‘Up from Liberalism.'”

Some people thought the high school era revelation was pretty funny.

Gorsuch also used a quote from Henry Kissinger in the yearbook, “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

It’s perhaps not entirely surprising that Gorsuch would be interested in politics at a young age; his mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was Ronald Reagan’s EPA director in the 1980s before resigning in the midst of scandal.

After high school, Gorsuch graduated from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford Universities.