Monday was the first day on the job for America’s newest Justice on the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. As everyone expected — indeed, as the Orange Oligarch decreed when the nomination process began — he appears to be cut from the same cloth as his predecessor, Antonin Scalia. The comparisons are already underway, in fact: He talks a lot, he likes to take a very traditional view of legal interpretations, and even in being different in demeanor from Scalia, he was still contrasted with the 30-year Court heavyweight.
SCOTUS wonks took notes:
1/ Gorsuch's first SCOTUS oral args: spoke more (based on words) than Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, Alito, Kennedy, Breyer(!), and Ginsburg
— Adam Feldman (@AdamSFeldman) April 17, 2017
It’s on the question of just how conservative Gorsuch will be that it seems the most comparisons will be drawn. Some argue that Scalia was not the most conservative Justice on the Court for his entire tenure (using some complicated math I won’t pretend to understand; see what you can make of it yourself here). Should that have us worried that Gorsuch will be more conservative than Scalia was for the last half of his career on the court? After all, Scalia believed that gays might as well be having sex with goats. How much further right can he possibly go?
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) April 17, 2017
Many have shared that very concern. Prior to his confirmation, the leaders of prominent human rights advocacy organizations detailed their strong reservations about allowing Gorsuch on the court. Still more incomprehensible-to-me math says that he will be the most conservative judge on the Court.
It was notable that the new Justice recused himself from the first order of the day:
True story: On Neil Gorsuch's first day, #SCOTUS declined to hear the case against Mitch McConnell for choosing to snub Merrick Garland.
— Cristian Farías 💫 (@cristianafarias) April 17, 2017
Perhaps symbolically in this case, tradition dictates that the most recent appointment to the Court sits literally on the far right side of the bench. But if Gorsuch ends up being as conservative as the consensus seems to believe he will, we can add one more thing he has in common with Antonin Scalia: The world would be better without him.