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Justice Gorsuch immediately asserts himself on right of Supreme Court


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Newly minted Supreme CourtJustice Neil M. Gorsuch came out of the starting blocks quickly in his first months, firmly planting himself on the court’s right along with Justices Clarence Thomasand Samuel A. Alito Jr. as defenders of religious freedom and skeptics of judicial meddling in the other two branches’ work.

In a series of rulings Monday, the last day of the 2016-17 session, Justice Gorsuch blasted colleagues for an aggressive pro-gay-rights decision in a case about same-sex marriages and children’s birth certificates, and he joined a series of other opinions signaling that he wanted to make a bold defense of First Amendment religious rights and Second Amendment gun rights.

In doing so, analysts said, he planted himself to the ideological right of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and seemed to align himself most frequently with Justice Thomas, the court’s most libertarian-leaning member.


“The guy’s not afraid to write,” said Josh Blackman, an associate professor at South Texas College of Law. “He’s not afraid to assert himself.”

Confirmed to the court in April, Justice Gorsuch participated in only a small fraction of the cases this year. But in a year that lacked big-name rulings, his ascendance was the biggest story of the court’s term. He is already cutting an outsized figure by asking his fair share of questions and taking stances that suggest he will carve out his own jurisprudence on the high court.


Gorsuch's Law.

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