When Judge Neil Gorsuch is sworn in to the Supreme Court on Monday, he will become the court’s 101st associate justice and most junior member.
Before the election and his nomination by President Trump to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch had a lesson from current junior justice Elena Kagan, the Washington Post recounted Sunday.
At an event in Colorado last September, Kagan was being interviewed by Gorsuch and Timothy M. Tymkovich, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and described what it was like to serve as the most junior justice of the Supreme Court.
Kagan said the junior justice is assigned to the monthly cafeteria committee until the next justice is confirmed. The committee helps decide the meals for when the justices dine together during oral arguments.
Kagan said the role is “a way to kind of humble people.”
“You think you’re kind of hot stuff. You’re an important person. You’ve just been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court,” she said, according to the Post.
“And now you are going to monthly cafeteria committee meetings where literally the agenda is what happened to the good recipe for the chocolate chip cookies.”
The junior justice also takes notes when the justices meet alone to discuss what cases to take and vote on.
The third task, which Kagan called the “most important junior justice responsibility”: They must open the door.
“Literally if I’m like in the middle of a sentence — let’s say it’s my turn to speak or something — and there’s a knock on the door, everybody will just stare at me, waiting for me to open the door,” she said.
Kagan will pass the torch on to Gorsuch after he takes the constitutional oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m. Monday.
Chief Justice Roberts will administer the oath at the private ceremony, after which Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the judicial oath at a public ceremony at the White House.
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