President Trump has called Chief Justice John Roberts an “absolute disaster.” Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he’s said, “her mind is shot.”  Federal courts in general are “slow and political.” 

Trump has been so tough on the judicial branch of government that even the man he nominated to the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, has called such attacks “disheartening.”

On Thursday, all that may have to be put aside if Trump pays a visit to the Supreme Court for Gorsuch’s official investiture ceremony — a meaningless but star-studded ritual in which the justices hold a special sitting of the court to welcome their newest member.

The ceremony comes on the same day as the justices’ regularly scheduled weekly conference, when they discuss potential new cases. The most important one pending is the Justice Department’s petition to jump-start Trump’s temporary travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries, a case the court is likely to hear this summer or fall.

Gorsuch, 49, has been a full-fledged member of the court since April 10, when he took his judicial and constitutional oaths at the court and the White House. But presidents routinely attend investiture ceremonies, and Trump likely doesn’t want to be the first no-show in more than a decade.

Following the brief ceremony, Gorsuch and Roberts will walk down the court’s front steps so photographers can capture the occasion. Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, will join them briefly.

Trump has had few interactions with the high court since his election. In late February, he shook hands with Roberts and several other justices who attended his maiden speech to a joint session of Congress. In April, all eight justices attended Gorsuch’s swearing-in, held in the White House Rose Garden.

At the time, Trump heaped praise on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the longest-serving justice who delivered the oath — and who may be considering retirement as soon as this month, which would give the president a second high court seat to fill.

“Throughout his nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy has been praised by all for his dedicated and dignified service,” Trump said. “We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.”

That was a far cry from his treatment of Roberts and Ginsburg during the presidential campaign. Noting the chief justice cast the deciding vote for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Trump called him an “absolute disaster.” And after Ginsburg called Trump a “faker” last July, the president swiftly responded with a devastating tweet in which he questioned her sanity and called on her to resign.

Despite that rocky past, Trump apparently had intended to invite all nine justices to the White House for dinner in April. The get-together showed up on a tentative advance schedule but quickly disappeared — as much a mystery to the justices as the press corps that follows the president’s every tweet.

SOURCE: Richard Wolf
USA TODAY

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