USA TODAY published an op-ed by Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth today in which he uses the example of Justice Gorsuch’s speech at Trump International Hotel later today to discuss the broader issue of partisanship at the high court.
Once the justices leave First Street, he writes, too often the nine choose to address only those ideologically aligned with them.
“Not once during the last Supreme Court term did a justice appointed by a Democratic president speak at an event hosted by the conservative Federalist Society,” Roth writes, “and not once did a justice appointed by a Republican president address a gathering of the liberal American Constitution Society.”
The op-ed concludes:
With all the partisanship in Washington, not to mention on our TVs and in our social media feeds, wouldn’t it be nice if the one supposedly apolitical branch branched out and addressed the unexpected? […] The impact of seeing the country’s leading jurists appear before contrarian audiences would go far beyond whatever words they’d share. It could compel leaders in other positions, both public and private, to seek out opportunities to engage with those with whom they may not always see eye to eye.
As legal and policy organizations look to book the justices in the coming months, they should try to avoid retreating to their ideological corners and instead consider inviting a justice from the other side. And the justices themselves should be more open to these types of invitations.
Even if, as we’re often told, the Supreme Court is the one institution in Washington that works most of the time, that’s quite a low bar. The court can and should play a larger role in raising the political discourse of a divided nation.