Martes, 18 Setiembre, 2018

Neil Gorsuch begins his Supreme Court career with a barrage of questions

32944198595_e5f30c3fb0_o Flickr Gaetan H 2017
Tobias Pedroso | 18 Abril, 2017, 06:58

Gorsuch formally joined the court on April 10 after being confirmed by the Republican-led Senate over broad Democratic opposition three days earlier, and took part in discussions among the justices on which cases to take up.

Gorsuch spoke more during his first day on the bench than fellow judge Clarence Thomas has in a decade.

The case before the justices involved a technical issue about the process for a federal worker to appeal his discrimination claim.

"I apologize for taking up so much time", the black-robed Gorsuch said, sitting back in his high-backed chair and smiling.

The court will have its full complement of nine justices, five conservatives and four liberals, for arguments for the first time since the death of long-serving conservative Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Chief Justice John Roberts welcomed Gorsuch to the court before oral arguments began, wishing him "a long and happy career" in the lifetime job. Landau started to respond by pointing to a Supreme Court case, but he didn't get far before Gorsuch interrupted him to focus again on what he described as "the plain language" of the statute.

If the fight over the travel ban reaches the Supreme Court, it's possible that Gorsuch could give the conservative wing the votes needed to rule in favor of the Trump administration. Gorsuch and his colleagues were hearing cases for the first time since President Donald Trump's pick was sworn in April 10.

Democrats tried to block Gorsuch's nomination, but Republicans changed the Senate rules to keep the minority from being able to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

The court announced the decision Monday morning.

"Who wrote this statute?"

Gorsuch skipped last week's private conference, where justices consider which cases to accept and reject, so he could bone up on the cases the court is hearing this week and next, its last oral arguments of the current term, which ends in June. Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general in Obama's Justice Department, represented the town.

Gorsuch said in his ruling that, "religious liberty statutes like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 'anticipated that (their) solicitude for religious exercise must sometimes yield to other competing state interest". Furthermore courts have declined to accept the claim that floral arrangements or wedding cakes are a form of protected expression and that compliance with law compels speech or forces people to compromise their religious beliefs.

Gorsuch thanked Roberts and the other justices for their warm welcome.

"Seems to me that both sides agree on the premise that mixed cases can go to the district court, so the district court can adjudicate some civil service disputes", Gorsuch said to Christopher Landau, an attorney with the Washington firm Kirkland Ellis. But he will play a role in deciding which cases the court will take up next term, including the challenge to Trump's executive order barring citizens from six countries from entering the U.S. Speaking for all, Justice Samuel Alito called the law in question "unbelievably complicated" and hard to parse.