Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Supreme Court, with Gorsuch onboard, hears church-state case

Supreme Court, with Gorsuch onboard, hears church-state case Supreme Court, with Gorsuch onboard, hears church-state case
Melinda Barton | 20 April, 2017, 06:46

Katyal, who was arguing at the Supreme Court in Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates involving a zoning dispute, introduced Gorsuch at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on his high court nomination. The development could prompt the court to throw out the case as no longer presenting an issue that needs to be resolved.

"It gives me great pleasure on behalf of myself and my colleagues to welcome Justice Gorsuch as the 101st associate justice of this court", Roberts said in very brief remarks as the court was called to order at 10 a.m.

Justice Neil Gorsuch's first week on the Supreme Court bench features an important case about the separation of church and state with roots in a Midwestern church playground.

When the gavel sounded at 10 a.m, the nine justices appeared from behind the red curtain, and Gorsuch took his place at the right end seated next to Sotomayor.

"Why shouldn't we follow the plain language and the traditional understanding of the term "action"?" he asked.

Not only did he ask questions, but he was confident enough in his constitutional prowess to challenge the lawyers in the room.

Reuters deemed Gorsuch "a frequent and energetic questioner" and said he "exhibited composure and confidence" during the arguments. SCOTUS Blog explained that the MSPB has claimed that it does not have "the authority to rule on an employee's claim because the employer can not appeal the allegedly wrongful action, but the employee also alleges that she has been the victim of discrimination - a so-called "mixed case'". All previously clerked for Gorsuch at the appeals court level and two also clerked for other Supreme Court justices, according to a report on the blog abovethelaw.com.

It is unlikely Gorsuch would recuse himself from the case, as justices hear arguments all the time from lawyers with much closer ties than Katyal and Gorsuch.

Gorsuch's questions suggested he disagreed with previous Supreme Court decisions that had let federal district courts consider lawsuits that claim violations of federal discrimination laws as well as civil service laws. It says, "in no event" may new claims be filed more than three years after the sale of an allegedly fraudulent stock.

And as Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. noted, the law was anything but clear.

The Guardian noted: "Gorsuch spoke more during his first day on the bench than fellow judge Clarence Thomas has in a decade". But a top aide to state Attorney General Josh Hawley told the AP that state lawyers were evaluating whether the new policy would affect the case.

This is unbelievably complicated, lamented Justice Alito.

Nobody who is not a lawyer, and no ordinary lawyer, could read these statutes and figure out what they are supposed to do. Speaking for all, Justice Samuel Alito called the law in question "unbelievably complicated" and hard to parse. To adopt a new interpretation, she said, would be, quote, "a kind of revolution to the extent you can have a revolution in this kind of case", she added wryly.