Gorsuch Takes Seat in Time for Court's Biggest Case
An important church-state case will be argued this month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2017 11:57 AM CDT
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In this photo provided by the Public Information Office Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts administers the oath to Neil Gorsuch.   (Franz Jantzen/Public Information Office Supreme Court of the U.S. via AP)

(Newser) – Neil Gorsuch is now officially a member of the US Supreme Court, and the 49-year-old's impact is expected to be both immediate and long-lasting. Gorsuch officially gets to work on Monday, in time to hear important cases for the current term and to help weigh in on which cases will be heard in the next one. Here's a look:

  • The court will hear a case April 19 that may be the most significant of the term, writes Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily. In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, a Missouri church is suing for the right to use state funds to improve a kids' playground. It's seen as one of the biggest church-state cases in a while.
  • Also on the court's radar are various challenges to President Trump's travel ban, reports ABC News in its Gorsuch primer.
  • A preview at the BBC includes an upcoming gun rights case (Peruta v. San Diego) about people's rights to carry concealed weapons in public places.
  • Gorsuch cannot vote on any cases argued before he became a justice, but if any of those cases end up 4-4, the court could order them re-argued before the full, nine-member panel, notes NBC News.

  • At the Hill, Lydia Wheeler writes that Gorsuch may actually be more conservative than the late Antonin Scalia in some areas, particularly on what's known as the Chevron deference. It stems from a 1984 ruling in which the high court ordered lower courts "to defer to reasonable agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes," per an explainer at SCOTUSblog. In layman's terms, liberal groups fear that public health and safety laws enacted in the Obama era are at risk.
  • The Gorsuch confirmation fight is destined to replayed again and again. This op-ed in the Washington Post thinks one thing that would help is a constitutional amendment limiting justices' terms to 18 years.
  • See a video of Trump, Gorsuch, and Justice Anthony Kennedy (Gorsuch used to clerk for him) here via PBS.
  • As the low man on the court's totem pole, Gorsuch has some kitchen responsibilities.

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