- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s televised Christmas greeting has become a political football used to score partisan points, raise cash and attract new supporters.

The Republican Party is fundraising off Justice Gorsuch saying “Merry Christmas” during a TV appearance Tuesday.

“Justice Gorsuch said ‘Merry Christmas’ and liberals are losing their minds!” tweeted the Republican National Committee and TeamTrump, the Twitter handle for President Trump’s reelection campaign.

“With @realDonaldTrump in charge, we’re saying MERRY CHRISTMAS AGAIN! Get your Limited-Edition Christmas Stickers before they’re gone,” the RNC tweet continued.

Supreme Court justices rarely appear on live television after they have been confirmed, as cameras are absent from their courtroom. But Justice Gorsuch made an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning to promote his book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” which was published in September.

“Joining us now for a rare live interview, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Good morning to you,” said Fox News personality Ainsley Earhardt.

“Merry Christmas,” Justice Gorsuch said.

“Merry Christmas, I love that you say that. What an honor to talk to you,” Ms. Earhardt replied.

Criticism of Justice Gorsuch’s holiday greeting was swift on social media.

“Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch just appeared on Fox and Friends this morning, making a point to parrot the ‘Merry Christmas’ talking point of the GOP,” tweeted liberal writer Amee Vanderpool, who has more than 260,000 followers. “If he’s willing to go on Fox and throw a shout out to Republican narratives, what [else] is he willing to do?”

Other critics did not focus on the content of his remarks, but simply took issue with his decision to appear on the network.

“Justice Neil Gorsuch is on ‘Fox & Friends’ right now. The Q: How is it appropriate for a Supreme Court justice to try to goose sales of his three-month-old book by chatting on one of the most partisan shows on TV?” tweeted Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

The GOP declined to reveal how much the Justice Gorsuch-themed fundraising pitch has hauled in, but its members are using the controversy to attract new supporters and potential donors. On Wednesday, Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, tweeted a solicitation for digital signatures for a Christmas card he intends to send to Justice Gorsuch.

“I worked tirelessly to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to our Supreme Court, and I’m not about to let Democrats smear him for wishing Americans a Merry Christmas,” wrote Mr. Tillis in the request for Christmas-card signatories. “That’s why I’m putting together a Merry Christmas card to send to Justice Neil Gorsuch and his family — will you sign it today?”

The card reads “Wishing you the best this Christmas Season” and features an image of Justice Gorsuch and his wife, Louise Gorsuch, standing next to President Trump. “We are thankful for your service in protecting our Constitution on our Supreme Court. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and I’m not afraid to say so!”

With less than one week remaining until the holiday, Christmas-themed fundraising ploys for the Republican Party have become common. The Trump campaign and National Republican Congressional Committee are both selling Trump-themed Christmas wrapping paper on their respective websites.

The holiday section of the Democratic Party’s official store online makes no mention of Christmas, but it does have “donkey gift wrap.” Democrats do not appear to be selling any Supreme Court merchandise tailored toward the holiday season, but they have previously sold merchandise expressing their disgust with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees through apparel such as T-shirts bearing the words “Supreme Injustice.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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