He may soon sit on the nation's highest court, but 30 years ago, Neil Gorsuch tested his outlook in a not-entirely welcoming place: the liberal campus of Columbia University, where he graduated in 1988. Josh Robin filed the following report.

Like other college kids, Neil Gorsuch probably meant to be cheeky.

"The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer," he quotes of Henry Kissinger in his senior yearbook.

It is clear that the preppy 1988 graduate was already thinking about Supreme Court-level issues.

Add some grime and crime, Columbia looked the same a generation ago. The issues: apartheid, opposing President Reagan and racial violence on campus.

Gorsuch was a rare conservative, or maybe more a skeptic, looking for an outlet, says a classmate NY1 contacted on Skype.

"If you were somewhere in the center, maybe even center-left, then the views didn't get heard. And of course, if you were in the right, the views didn't get heard,. So Neil recognized that and took the bold step of starting the Federalist Paper."

A paper not uniformly right-wing. A socialist helped found it.  

Its motto was "The truth doesn't blush." But admitting the truth varies.

Despite his name at the top of the paper's masthead, Gorsuch kept a low profile in the Federalist. In early March 1988, he did take one strong position, but it's not an issue that's likely to come up in his Senate confirmation: whether fraternities had to be co-ed.

Gorsuch also defended secret presidential power during the Iran-Contra scandal and lamented that a march for racial justice drew revolutionaries. 

"That was a really intense time, and there was no sight, to my knowledge or my memory, of Neil Gorsuch being on the side of justice and freedom in those circumstances," said Andrea Miller, a fellow alum who now heads the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

"Needless to say, Neil Gorsuch and I did not run in the same circles," she added.

With few conservatives to run it, the Federalist turned more satirical years ago. Editors now are thumbing through old issues, with varying degrees of pride.

Max Rosenberg notes the paper's intial goal to welcome different views.

"And hopefully, he continues to carry that attitude as he moves forward," Rosenberg said.

Co-editor Iqraz Nanji sports a Hillary Clinton sticker, and less enthusiasm. 

"I don't have any particular viewpoints except for apathy to a certain degree," he said.