By Miriam Raftery
April 12, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Neil Gorsuch begins his duties this week on the Supreme Court after the Senate invoked the ‘nuclear option’ to change long-standing Senate rules and block a filibuster by Democrats. All but two Democrats had agreed to vote against confirming Gorsuch, including California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Gorsuch joins a divided court and will likely be the swing vote in close decisions.
A staunch conservative, Gorsuch is likely to follow in the voting tradition of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative. The court is expected to soon decide landmark cases that could roll back key labor protections and women’s reproductive rights, potentially even reversing Roe vs. Wade.
Gorsuch will first have to go through long-standing traditions aimed at teaching humility to each new Justice. These include serving on the high court’s cafeteria committee to plan meals, taking notes during closed-door conferences and rising to open the door if someone knocks while the justices are in the conference room.
Gorsuch takes over these newcomer duties from Justice Ellen Kagan, the second most recent appointee to the high court.