Gorsuch’s speeches raise questions of independence, critics say

Last week found McConnell (R-Ky.) and Gorsuch traveling the Bluegrass State together for a tour of the senator’s alma maters.

.. Critics likened it to a “victory lap” for McConnell and said it amplified questions that were already being asked about Gorsuch’s independence from the Republicans

.. Trump and Republican leaders have celebrated Gorsuch’s confirmation as perhaps the signature accomplishment of the new administration

.. he has accepted an invitation to speak to a conservative legal scholarship group Thursday at Trump International Hotel in Washington.

.. But Gorsuch’s detractors see the speeches as hand-delivered thank-you notes, undermining attempts to present himself as an independent-minded justice.

“All of this indicates that he’s just ethically tone-deaf,” said Deborah L. Rhode

.. “Whether or not this breaks any explicit ethics rules, it is certainly not the behavior you’d expect from someone trying to ensure the appearance and reality of judicial independence and impartiality,”

..  “Chief Justice [John] Roberts likes to say that there aren’t Democratic or Republican justices. Gorsuch traveling around with the Republican Senate majority leader in what seems to be a sort of victory lap appears disturbingly out of step with the chief’s sentiment.”

.. The legislative muscle by McConnell and abundant praise from Trump is partly why Gorsuch’s appearances are seen through a partisan lens.

.. “One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy,’ ” McConnell told his constituents.

That left Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, hanging, and his chances ended with Trump’s election.


.. Facing calls to divest his business interests, Trump turned over management of the Trump Organization to his two oldest sons and vowed to reap no hotel profits during his presidency. But against the advice of top federal ethics officials, he has retained his ownership stake in the hotel, allowing him to eventually profit from the business.

.. “Is this any different from speeches and events Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg attends on a regular basis?” Adler asked in an interview with The Post, adding that Gorsuch’s schedule “might be a little unusual for a new justice, but I don’t think that’s out of order.”