Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s first day on the high court’s bench is likely to be a T.S. Eliot special: All whimper, no bang.
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Gorsuch’s first time sitting with the Supreme Court as the newly-installed Associate Justice on Monday morning is set to include hearing a trio of cases, none of which are likely to grab any major headlines. However, that’s not to say there won’t be anything worth watching for (or, rather, listening for – as the Supreme Court famously does not allow cameras in the courtroom).
Perhaps the case featuring the most intrigue is “Town of Chester, New York v. Laroe Estates” – but not due to the facts of the case; instead all eyes will be on Gorsuch to see if he recuses himself due to the presence of Neal Katyal. Katyal, a former Obama administration acting solicitor general who is set to argue for Chester, wrote the New York Times op-ed “Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch” after President Trump nominated Gorsuch, and helped introduce Gorsuch during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At one point, Gorsuch referred to Katyal as “my friend.”
There are no rules on when or if a justice must recuse himself, however, The National Law Journal writes the standard procedure for doing so is simple: the judge will get up and leave. Gorsuch recused himself in more than 1,000 cases as a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court, so there would certainly be a precedent if he holds himself to a high standard.
The crux of “Chester v. Laroe” itself revolves around a dispute involving the interpretation of Article III of the Constitution as it relates to participating in a lawsuit.
Gorsuch and his eight fellow justices are also scheduled to hear two other cases Monday.
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“Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board” asks whether a Protection Board decision decided on jurisdictional grounds in a case involving both local and federal claims must be reviewed in the U.S. Court of Appeals or can be heard in district court on appeal.
“California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc.” asks a question about the timeliness of filing an individual lawsuit if the suit had been previously litigated as a class action.