Supreme court hears arguments on jurisdiction, joinder, standing


The justices could also decide whether to hear a case concerning claims by undocumented Central American women and their children who were apprehended immediately after entering the United States surreptitiously in late 2015.

The 49-year-old Gorsuch echoed his own confirmation hearing testimony with questions focused on the text of federal laws and rules at issue before the court.

He then apologized to the lawyes and his fellow justices for taking up so much time, a theme he'd return to repeatedly.

Throughout the day, Gorsuch made numerous references to the "plain text" of laws, and he quizzed the attorneys as to why the law wasn't written exactly the way they were arguing it was supposed to be interpreted.

The justices opened their April session with a case presenting a technical but important question about appeals from decisions by the Merit Systems Protection Board, which reviews federal employees' claims that they were wrongly fired, suspended or demoted.

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That question sounded a lot like the answer Gorsuch gave last month, when he was pressed to defend an opinion he wrote against a fired trucker. To adopt a new interpretation, she said, would be "a kind of the extent you can have a revolution in this kind of case".

The court imposes no particular order in which justices can ask questions.

Last week, however, the justices asked parties to address a new development in the case. After the trial and appeals courts sided with the state, the Supreme Court decided in January 2016 - shortly before Justice Antonin Scalia died - to hear the case. And justices routinely hear cases involving lawyers with whom they once worked or are friends. Roberts said a few words to welcome his newest colleague to the court, telling Gorsuch that "we wish him a long and happy career in our common calling".

Gorsuch thanked Roberts and the other justices for their warm welcome.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor seemed to agree.

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The first case was so dense that even the justices who can wax eloquent over a misplaced comma were beside themselves. "Somebody who takes pleasure out of pulling the wings off flies?" Alito asked, to laughter from the gallery. Gorsuch outright called Landau a liar.

Gorsuch cut in: "I hope so". When Landau said he wasn't asking the court to "break any new ground", Gorsuch pushed back.

"That's his complaint, page 122 of the Joint Appendix", he told Washington lawyer Shay Dvoretzky, who represented Laroe.

Lastly, for a shot biography, including affiliations and past positions, you can look at Justice Gorsuch's profile on Westlaw.

"If he is seeking an injunction saying, he, individually, is entitled to a particular type of food and they would like that judgment to extend to them, they need at that point standing, because they're asking the defendant to do something different, not only to provide him with particular food, but also to provide it to them, whereas otherwise the defendant would not be free to do that".

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