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Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch May Have Violated Supreme Court Protocol

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Not so long ago, Judge Neil Gorsuch was pointed to by Republicans and Trump apologists as one of the very few momentous achievements of this Red Presidency. Back in those days before the tax cuts bill, before Brett Kavanaugh was a thing and when the midterm elections were in the distant future, the appointment of a fairly young, conservative judge to the highest court in the land was – and, to some extent, still is – lauded as a big success for President Trump and his cronies.

Except of course, that as with everything concerning this President, things are never that simple. It is hard to get into the headlines these days, even for a figure as influential and significant as Judge Gorsuch, because American politics and the news media is so saturated with an unprecedented level of chaos and lunacy that everything seems minor in comparison. Nonetheless, Gorsuch has achieved the tall order of getting his name into the news, and I can tell you now, it is not for something good.

So, here’s what went down. Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch recently went to out to dinner with a whole host of GOP Senators and various other top-level Washington officials. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, one of the guests, said of the evening that he “enjoyed having dinner tonight at the home of Senator John Cornyn (of Texas) and his wife Sandy with… Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, Transportation Secretary Chao and a few of my other Senate colleagues to talk about important issues facing our country.”

Besides being a live demonstration of the American oligarchy in action, this seems pretty inconspicuous. All they did was meet up and eat. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Oh, if only it were that simple.

As it turns out, politicking over the dinner table is in direct contravention of Code of Conduct that Gorsuch is obliged to obey. It says:

Canon 4: A Judge May Engage in Extrajudicial Activities that are Consistent with the Obligations of Judicial Office

“A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, including law-related pursuits and civic, charitable, educational, religious, social, financial, fiduciary, and governmental activities, and may speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects. However, a judge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office, interfere with the performance of the judge’s official duties, reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality, lead to frequent disqualification, or violate the limitations set forth below.”

Given that Alexander expressly said the meet-up allowed the officials “to talk about important issues facing our country”, it is hard to see how Gorsuch avoided breaking this rule here. Expect to hear more about this in the near future.


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