Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, though “polar opposites on the bench,” had a deep friendship that bridged their differences. This should be a societal aspiration. How was this possible?
At a recent talk, Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained that although the justices have diverse socioeconomic, professional, political, and ideological backgrounds, they always treat each other with respect. What is the basis for this respect? According to Justice Sotomayor, the justices have a deep love for this country, for our Constitution, and for our system of government. “It’s easier to listen openly if you start from that place of respect.” Respect allows our justices to argue endlessly about issues that deeply divide our country and come to a decision. The justices do not have the option to scream at each other and walk away because the goal is to leave with a majority opinion.
Now, how does this newest nominee play into the SCOTUS family? Neil Gorsuch has been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Scalia. Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush. Some sources have called him “eerily” similar to Justice Scalia in his judicial style and his substantive approach. So, in theory, Judge Gorsuch should fit right in. No one knows what issues SCOTUS will have to decide in the next two years, the next five years, or the next ten. The only thing we can hope for is that the justices will always go back to that common respect for one another. As the Beatles say, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”