SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch’s recent speech at The Trump International Hotel in Washington sparked plenty of outrage and accusations of cronyism. But the speech itself was another issue, and Trump opponents listening to Gorsuch expound on the importance of free speech and First Amendment protections might think Gorsuch was in some ways himself an opponent of the president who nominated him. In short, Gorsuch sounded like a guy who would think it’s OK for an NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem.
Trump has been using his bully pulpit (that’s Twitter, btw) to try to curtail the freedom of expression being practiced by NFL players who, in protest, are kneeling during the national anthem at games. It’s a divisive issue, but even NFL brass like Trump supporter and Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he was “deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President” after Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who knelt in peaceful protest. Listening to Gorsuch, it’s easy to imagine the newest Supreme Court justice lining up with Kraft, and being disappointed by Trump’s proud intolerance for opposing views. Gorsuch said: “Those with whom we disagree vehemently still have the best interests of the country at heart. We have to learn not only to tolerate different points of view but to cherish the din of democracy … It’s not just about good manners and courtesy. It’s about keeping our republic.”