Gorsuch asks his first questions from Supreme Court bench


WIPR recently asked whether Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as a US Supreme Court associate justice is good for IP, but it seems that our readers are split. Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, was sworn in last week, becoming the 113th person to serve on the Supreme Court.

Just previous year, when he was a federal circuit court judge in Denver, the Supreme Court's new justice, Neil Gorsuch, did something judges rarely do.

That's undoubtedly true, just as there are other clues among the cases reviewed as to how Justice Gorsuch might influence the court's employment discrimination jurisprudence.

Gorsuch formally joined the court April 10 after being confirmed three days earlier by the Republican-led Senate over broad Democratic opposition.

"I'm sorry for taking up so much time", Gorsuch said, before continuing a bit longer.

Gorsuch later sparred with Justice Department lawyer Brian Fletcher over the meaning of the Civil Service Reform Act, sticking to his reputation for focusing on the text of the law.

If his first day on the job is anything to judge by, Justice Neil Gorsuch intends to ask a lot of questions and focus on the law as written. "Justice Gorsuch, we wish you a long and happy career in our common calling".

Gorsuch thanked his new colleagues for the "very warm welcome" he said he had received. Sitting at the far right end of the nine-member bench, Gorsuch spent the morning hearing three oral arguments, each lasting about an hour.

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One interesting aspect of Gorsuch's first day came during Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates.

The justices, with the exception of the usually silent Clarence Thomas, are known for their aggressive questioning, and Gorsuch showed no qualms about jumping right in.

Katyal's representation of one side in the case presented Gorsuch with a decision about whether to recuse, or sit the case out.

Though already a justice, Gorsuch did not participate last week in the court's weekly conference at which the eight not only discuss and vote on previously argued cases but decide which cases to hear in the future.

Gorsuch follows the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative favorite, who passed away suddenly in February 2016.

Alito added; "The one thing about this case that seems perfectly clear to me is that nobody who is not a lawyer, and no ordinary lawyer, could read these statutes and figure out what they are supposed to do".

In Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, Mr Gorsuch found that business owners with strongly-held religious beliefs are not required to provide insurance coverage for their employees' contraceptives. By and large, Gorsuch's questions did not appear pointed or that he was trying to trap the lawyers for either party in any case before him.

Not Gorsuch. He remained on the bench, but he did not ask Katyal any questions. Five justices on the court were nominated by Republican presidents, while four were nominated by Democrats. Although the shift doesn't change the state's past decision, it certainly makes the case toothless.