Gorsuch Joins the Supremes as Congress Takes a Break

Posted by Dale Eisman on April 10, 2017


Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the Supreme Court in a pair of swearing-in ceremonies this morning.

Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath required by the Constitution in a private ceremony at the high court, with the other eight justices and relatives of Gorsuch and the late Justice Antonin Scalia – the man Gorsuch is replacing – on hand. Gorsuch took the "judicial oath," a special oath for federal judges, at the White House, with President Trump looking on, later in the morning. Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch clerked as a young lawyer, did the honors at that ceremony

Within just a few weeks, we could get a look at how Gorsuch will impact the court’s jurisdiction on democracy issues.

This week, “Gorsuch will join his new colleagues in considering whether to hear two lower-court defeats being appealed by gun rights organizations,” the Washington Post reports this morning. And the Los Angeles Times notes that the court has been delaying action for months on “a Colorado baker’s claim that he deserves a faith-based exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law after he refused to design a wedding cake for a gay couple.”

The newspaper suggested that “the delay may mean one of the justices has been writing a dissent from the majority’s refusal to hear the appeal, or perhaps that the conservatives have been awaiting the ninth justice.

The court also is expected to begin work soon on North Carolina’s request that they overturn a decision tossing out its tightened voting restrictions.

“And heading toward the court is Trump’s revamped travel ban on refugees and certain immigrants, a case that Senate Democrats said will test Gorsuch’s independence from the man who chose him for the high court,” the Post said.

 

Members of Congress are on their spring break this week and next, their first extended time back in their districts since President Trump’s inauguration in January.

The “district work period,” as the House of Representatives calls it, may give lawmakers a better picture of how constituents view them and the president. And it could prove a test of strength for progressive activists determined to block the Trump agenda.

At midweek, activists are set to deliver petitions to lawmakers in “swing” districts across the country demanding that Congress create an independent commission to investigate Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election. And on Saturday, the usual date for the filing of federal income tax returns, progressives plan marches in 150 cities to demand that the president follow the example of his recent predecessors by releasing his returns.

“Donald Trump’s tax returns will help us answer the question: Does Trump really have America’s best interests at heart?” Susan Lerner, executive director at Common Cause New York, told the website amNEWYORK. “This is a bipartisan issue. Americans of all backgrounds agree that President Trump must be transparent with his business dealings for the safety of the country.”

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Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections, More Democracy Reforms, Money in Politics

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