Gorsuch asks his first questions from Supreme Court bench

Gorsuch asks his first questions from Supreme Court bench

President Donald Trump's appointee Neil Gorsuch on Monday showed himself to be a frequent and energetic questioner during U.S. Supreme Court arguments in his first day hearing cases as a justice, at one point even apologizing for talking too much.

Starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday court watchers will hear arguments in three cases, including Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates.

Chris Landau was the first attorney to argue before Justice Gorsuch, urging the court to rule that mixed cases like his client's should go to the district court. Gorsuch will hear an important case involving the separation of church and state in his first week on the high court.

It will be the first time Gorsuch dons a black robe as a justice, and his presence brings the court back to full strength more than a year after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Roberts issued the standard welcome for new justices, wishing Gorsuch "a long and happy career in our common calling".

At this point, Gorsuch again suggested the simple solution is to just read the words in the statute, but Gorsuch had a relatively novel idea of what a statute means when it says to apply one provision "subject to" another provision of the law.

Gorsuch thanked his new colleagues for the "very warm welcome" he said he had received. Gorsuch's seatmate Sotomayor, although still a relatively junior justice, was second only to Scalia last term in the average number of questions asked, according to data compiled by SCOTUSblog.

Basque separatist group Eta hands over weapons
He added that ETA members should help victims' relatives by cooperating on hundreds of unresolved cases. Disarmament day, the communiqué said, is on.

Gorsuch, who at 49 could remain on the court for decades, served for a decade on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before Trump nominated him in January.

As the court buzzer sounded, Gorsuch emerged from behind the red velvet curtains with his eight colleagues and took his seat at the far right of the bench, no pun intended. But the justices continue to resist, though they will occasionally authorize same-day posting of arguments in high-profile cases.

On Wednesday the court will hear another potentially momentous case, one that could transform the relationship between church and state.

During his March confirmation hearing, then-Judge Neil Gorsuch repeatedly professed his belief that judges should adhere to the plain language of a law, without considering other factors such as the law's history or what Congress might have intended when it enacted the law.

It takes the votes of four justices to agree to hear a case; the speculation is that some of the cases still in the queue need one more vote in order to get the four needed for review.

But the case may fizzle out.

But the state's Department of Natural Resources rejected the application, pointing to the part of the state constitution that says "no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion". The court ordered lawyers for both sides to submit letters by noon Tuesday with their views on what effect the governor's change in policy should have on the case. The church applied for a state grant that helps fund playground restoration with used tires.

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