What happens next for Judge Neil Gorsuch

Colorado Judge Neil M. Gorsuch will become the 113th justice to sit on the Supreme Court. 

The Senate confirmed his nomination Friday 54 to 45. 

Here's what happens next.

Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the Constitutional Oath to Gorsuch in a private ceremony Monday morning, according to a Supreme Court press release. 

After that, Gorsuch will head to the White House where Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the Judicial Oath during a public ceremony.

Gorsuch clerked for Kennedy in the 1990s.

So, when will put on his robe and start hearing cases?

"If I had to take a guess, I would bet that Justice Gorsuch will be on the panel hearing oral arguments in two weeks," George Washington Law professor Paul Schiff Berman said. 

That means Gorsuch has a lot to get done in a short period of time.

Supreme Court judges have three to four clerks, one or two support people and a chamber's aid, Berman said. 

But Gorsuch doesn't necessarily have to hire all those people right away. Some of his current clerks might follow him to Washington, and he might be able to use some of former Justice Antonin Scalia's staff.

Roberts could also loan Gorsuch some staff, Berman said. 

In addition to hiring people to run his new office, Gorsuch has a lot of reading to do. 

Each of the six cases left this session come with a legal history, briefs and case law that needs to be reviewed. 

"It is known what the cases are that the Supreme Court is hearing in April, and so there’s no reason over the last few weeks that he wouldn't have been reading the lower court opinions and reading the briefs and things like that," Berman said. 

Justice Elena Kagan took her oath of office in August 2010. She recused herself from the first five cases that October. 

But Berman said don't assume that was because she didn't feel prepared. 

"The justices don’t say why they recuse themselves, so we don’t know for sure," Berman said. "She had been solicitor general and therefore she had worked on some of these cases that were before the Supreme Court as lawyer for the government."

And in case you're wondering, it's highly unlikely Gorsuch would join an opinion on a case that's already had oral arguments. 

If the other justices deadlock, it is possible that case could return in the fall when Gorsuch is on the bench. 

The first case Gorsuch could sit for is April 17, but Berman said the one to watch is set for oral arguments April 19. 

It's called Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer

This case is about whether a church or other religious group should be excluded from a public aid program when the aid doesn't go directly towards religious purposes. 

In this specific case Trinity Lutheran Church applied for Missouri's Scrap Tire Grant Program so it could make improvement to its playground, which is used by its daycare and by neighborhood children after hours. 

The state denied Trinity's application because it's a church and the church sued. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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