Neil Gorsuch Plagiarism Allegations Surface Before Senate Vote

Neil Gorsuch (Getty)

As his confirmation hearing continues to heat up and move toward a vote, allegations that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch plagiarized a small portion of his 2006 book have surfaced.

According to a report from BuzzFeed, a short two-paragraph section of his book repeats much of the same language from a 1984 law review article and isn’t properly attributed.

Gorsuch’s book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, reportedly contains an excerpt that is almost identical to an article in the Indiana Law Journal by Abigail Lawlis Kuzma titled “The Legislative Response to Infant Doe.”

Both gave facts and the ruling in a case involving a baby born in Indiana that had Down syndrome, but one section in Gorsuch’s book repeats much of the same language used in Kuzmas.

The Baby Doe Law was passed in 1984 and sets guidelines for the treatment of ill and/or disabled newborns no matter the opinion of its parents.

One section that BuzzFeed provided as an example in Gorsuch’s book read:

Down’s syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that involves both a certain amount of physical deformity and some degree of mental retardation. Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula means that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus. As a result, food and drink pass to the lungs instead of the stomach, eventually resulting in suffocation unless surgery is performed to correct the malformation. Surgery to correct esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula is routinely performed with success, but the parents of Baby Doe refused to consent to the surgery.

And the article that was written 22 years earlier by Kuzma sounded eerily similar, without proper attribution being used by Gorsuch.

Down’s syndrome or “Mongolism” is an incurable chromosomal disorder that involves a certain amount of physical deformity and an unpredictable degree of mental retardation. Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula indicates that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus such that substances taken orally pass to the lungs instead of the stomach, eventually resulting in suffocation unless surgery is performed to correct the malformation. Corrective surgery to correct esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula is routinely performed with success, but the Bloomington Hospital is not equipped to handle the operation. However, the parents of Infant Doe refused to transfer their baby to Riley Hospital, a referral hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, for corrective surgery.

But because Gorsuch’s passage is factual and centers around the legal language of the case and decision, using any different language could be tough, Kuzma reportedly said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed.

Gorsuch, who has been an appellate judge for well over 10 years, is in the process of getting confirmed by the Senate.

4 Comments

4 Comments

Bwanadik

It is indeed plagiarism, and any editor would tell you such. Simply changing a few nouns and verbs, moving a few words into a separate sentence, making one run-on sentence from two is not enough change the original expressed thought. There was no acknowledgement of the original author’s work, and without such, Gorsuch implies that the idea and writing was his. Had he simply replicated the original paragraph in toto, or used “adapted from”, “taken from” etc., or credited Kuzuma, this would be such a non-item. But, Gorsuch did not do that, he simply took the easy way, copying someone else’s work. I.e. Gorsuch Lied.

Anonymous

Bwanadik – You don’t have a clue. Do you think Kuzma is an expert in Down’s syndrome, that they should be cited for describing the medical facts associated with that inherited disorder – and do you think Kuzma is a better source to reference than the actual judge who decided the case? Obviously you don’t. Neither do editors, and neither did Gorsuch or Kuzma, or anyone else for that matter who isn’t a political partisan trying to make this into something it’s not.

When referencing Down’s Syndrome, Gorsuch cite Medical Experts:
49: A. Rudolph, Pediatrics 244 (17th ed 1983)
50: R.Behrman and V.Vaughan, Nelson Texbook of Pediatrics 893-94

When referencing the case, Gorsuch cited the Judge of the caset:
51: In re Infant Doe, Declaratory judgment 1-3
52. Declaratory judgment 1-3

Anonymous

It’s not plagiarism, as any editor can tell you. I am surprised that editor Chris Bucher would write such a thing.

Anonymous

“I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. 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,” Kuzma said in a statement.

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