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Five key cases Gorsuch will hear in his first month

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President Trump and Senate Republicans moved hell and high water to confirm U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant Supreme Court seat.

But now, with less than a month left before the end of the court’s current term, Gorsuch will hit the ground running on a number of key cases surrounding several controversial issues that will, according to Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, “not only gauge the 49-year-old Colorado native’s conservative credentials but also lay bare how he compares to his predecessor, Scalia.”

In a piece published Friday, O’Reilly and Bill Mears lay out five key cases that Gorsuch will hear as soon as he takes the bench, cases that will give conservatives a good indication of whether we’re dealing with the second coming of Antonin Scalia or, God forbid, another David Souter.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley

In what many consider the biggest church-state case in a long while, SCOTUS justices will be asked “whether the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses when the state has no valid Establishment Clause concern.”

Should the preschool at Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri be able to use state funds from a grant to nonprofits to replace gravel on its playground surface with softer recycled rubber? While Missouri law currently prohibits government aid to religious institutions, conservatives, and Trinity Lutheran Church, are hoping the court will rule in favor of parochial schools to accept governmental funds in cases like this.

How will Gorsuch vote? Law professor Stephen Wermiel told Fox News: “Gorsuch seems to be on the side believing that government programs should treat religious freedoms fairly and should recognize the rights of religious organizations to participate in public welfare-type programs.”

Weaver v. Massachusetts and Davila v. Davis (2 cases here)

Both of these Sixth Amendment issue cases deal with defendants who claim they had inadequate counsel.

While Scalia often ruled in favor of defendants, experts believe Gorsuch might see things differently. In fact, the Stanford Law Review has noted that while Gorsuch has “admitted that counsel can be ineffective at the plea bargaining phase,” he would likely “only find a Sixth Amendment infringement where that ineffectiveness denied the defendant ‘his constitutional entitlement to a trial,'” also adding that “[A] criminal defendant with Sixth Amendment claims can fairly expect an uphill battle to win his vote.”

Maslenjak v. U.S.

When Divna Maslenjak of Ohio, an ethnic Bosnian Serb, had her U.S. citizenship revoked for lying about what brought her to this country, she started a case that’s about to make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Currently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled that immaterial false statements can lead to naturalized citizens being stripped of their citizenship, but will the high court reverse this?

How will Gorsuch rule? Nobody knows for sure, as his record on immigration-related cases is mixed.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc.

Can some class-action securities lawsuits can be barred for filing too late?

How SCOTUS justices rule on the California retirement fund’s suit of several financial institutions stemming from their alleged role Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse will have dire consequences for investors and “will determine whether putative class members must file individual complaints before the three-year period imposed by Section 13 of the Securities Act has run out.”

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

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Scott Morefield


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