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Gorsuch Ends First Term On Supreme Court

Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump and took his seat in April, finished his first session June 26 as the court began its summer recess.

FiveThirtyEight argued that Gorsuch's performance thus far has paid off for the White House, with the court agreeing to hear two cases involving Trump's travel ban and allowing it to partially come into force in the meantime.

Gorsuch has emerged as a consistent conservative vote on the court. He has been involved in around 15 cases and regularly sides with the Supreme Court's most conservative justice, Clarence Thomas.

"Whereas new justices usually take a beat before they start opining on every issue the court does (and doesn't) address, Justice Gorsuch has asserted his exceptionally conservative views early and often across a dizzying range of hot-button issues," Joshua Matz, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, told CNN.

One of these issues was Trump's travel ban. Gorsuch, together with Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, criticized the other justices for refusing to allow all of the executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries to come into force while the case is reviewed.

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Gorsuch wrote a dissenting opinion in another ruling issued June 26 in a case involving two same-sex couples in Arkansas. The Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling, thereby enabling the couples to appear on their children's birth certificates as parents.

Gorsuch disagreed, saying the court should have been open to a full hearing of the case.

"The statute in question establishes a set of rules designed to ensure that the biological parents of a child are listed on the child's birth certificate," he wrote in the dissent, which was joined by Thomas and Alito.

The conservative wing could become even stronger if rumors about Kennedy's impending retirement prove true. Trump would then have the opportunity to appoint another justice to the Supreme Court, which would result in conservative Chief Justice John Roberts holding the pivotal tie-breaking vote.

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Kennedy is currently the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, having been appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. Speculation grew about his future after a reunion with some of his former clerks was moved forward a year to this past weekend, according to The Guardian.

However, Kennedy did not use the court's last public session June 26 to announce he was stepping down, as some had suggested he might.

Sources: FiveThirtyEight, CNN, The Guardian / Photo Credit: White House official photographer/Wikimedia Commons, Shealah Craighead/Wikimedia Commons, Supreme Court/Wikimedia Commons

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