Kevin Newsom of Alabama has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit since 2017. Prior to his judicial service, he worked in private practice and served as Alabama’s Solicitor General. He attended Harvard Law School and clerked for Justice Souter.
In interpreting the plain language of an Internal Revenue Statute, an Eleventh Circuit panel led by Judge Newsom found that a homosexual male taxpayer could not claim a medical care expense deduction on his federal tax return for expenses related to in vitro fertilization (IVF) if the egg donor and a gestational surrogate were not related to him. Further, while courts in the past have found reproductive rights as fundamental rights, Judge Newsom held that the taxpayer did not have a fundamental right to IVF-and-surrogacy-assisted reproduction. Lastly, Judge Newsom held the IRS did not discriminate against the taxpayer because he was not treated differently from other homosexual taxpayers.
Police officers detained the plaintiffs, believing they were interrupting a daytime robbery. Without a warrant or further suspicion, the officers searched the defendants, prompting the question whether the officers violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights. With Judge Newsom writing for the majority, the Eleventh Circuit held that suspected burglary presents exigent circumstances. Judge Newsom wrote that “if police have probable cause to suspect a residential burglary—whether they believe the crime is currently afoot or has recently concluded—they may, without further justification, conduct a brief warrantless search of the home to look for suspects and potential victims.”
In Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty for juveniles younger than age 18. As the Solicitor General of Alabama, Newsom authored an amicus brief in favor of upholding the death penalty. After the ruling, then-Solicitor General Newsom gave an interview to NPR’s All Things Considered criticizing the decision. He said, “there’s no real magic in the number 18. Some of the Court’s reasoning would apply equally to 19-year-olds and 20-year-olds, that at the same time won’t apply to some 17-year-olds.” During his confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit, Newsom stated that the arguments he made in Roper reflected the views of his client, the State of Alabama.
In a 2000 article for the Yale Law Journal, Judge Newsom criticized substantive due process, which the Supreme Court has used to protect same-sex marriage and abortion rights. He wrote, “The point here is that modern-day assumption that the Privileges or Immunities Clause does not incorporate the Bill of Rights—and significant, that the Due Process Clause must therefore do so—is held together by a single thread. That single thread . . . is Justice Maxwell’s opinion for the Court in Slaughter-House. . . . [t]he best reading of Slaughter-House . . . suggests that in 1973 the Court concluded that the Privileges or Immunities Clause did incorporate many Bill of Rights freedoms against the states.”