Gorsuch replaces Biden as chair of civic education group

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is taking on a new role as the honorary chairman of a nonpartisan group devoted to education about the Constitution, replacing former Vice President Joe Biden.

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia said Tuesday that Gorsuch, named to the high court by President Donald Trump, will serve as a spokesman for civics education and civility in politics.

The 51-year-old Gorsuch is the first justice to be the center’s chairman. Biden stepped down when he launched his campaign for the presidency in April.

Gorsuch said he’s concerned by polls that show most Americans would flunk a citizenship test and many say incivility keeps them away from public affairs.

“For a government of and by the people to work, everyone must have some idea how our Constitution works and we must be able to talk to each other about important ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Gorsuch said in a comment provided by the Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Rosen, the center’s president and CEO, said the center was attracted by Gorsuch’s commitment to civics and civility. “We’re genuinely excited about this partnership because Justice Gorsuch is so passionate about the need for nonpartisan civics education,” Rosen said.

Gorsuch was put on the court by a president whose combative approach to politics is not often confused with civility. But Rosen said, “The attitudes of the president who appointed him did not factor in.”

Past chairmen have included former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The honorary chairman has alternated between Democrats and Republicans, Rosen said.

The center’s home in Philadelphia is near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution was drafted.