Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch preached civility to a private gathering of the Federalist Society, and implored the audience to follow Justice Brett M. Kavaugh’s example.
The Federalist Society hosted both justices at its National Lawyers Convention in Washington, D.C., this week, and Justice Kavanaugh told the crowd on Thursday, “I will always be not afraid.”
Justice Gorsuch offered his counsel Saturday night, particularly aimed at younger lawyers.
“What I say to you young people: Be courageous; aim high; we need you more than ever; be kind to one another along the way; be dogged,” Justice Gorsuch said. “And be not afraid, as Justice Kavanaugh said, be not afraid. Because guess what? They can throw their slings and arrows, and I’m still here.”
Justice Gorsuch sat onstage alongside his former clerks David Feder and Jane Nitze to discuss his new book that he co-authored with his former clerks, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.” In conversation with Federalist Society executive vice president Leonard Leo, Justice Gorsuch said it was important for the nation’s leaders to learn to disagree without viewing their opponents as evil.
“I do think effective lawyering does not mean you hate your adversary,” Justice Gorsuch said. “And I think the same thing is true for [statecraft] and the… people who run this country in jobs like we all have now.”
Justice Gorsuch pointed to disagreements he has with Justice Clarence Thomas, and noted that originalists do not always agree on matters of the law and of judicial outcomes.
“Justice Thomas and I have disagreed for example on vagueness doctrine, we’ve disagreed on the appointment of non-Article III judges to take away intellectual property rights, but that’s because we’re disagreeing about how we’re reading history,” Justice Gorsuch said. “And I think those are great and good-faith disputes for judges to have.”
Justice Gorsuch’s remarks were delivered at the Federalist Society’s Hon. Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture, after which Justice Gorsuch and his co-authors signed copies of their book for a line of attendees that extended down the Mayflower Hotel’s hallways and into the foyer. More than 3,500 people attended the Federalist Society’s annual convention this year, according to a Federalist Society spokeswoman.