12:24, January 24 249 0 abajournal.com

2018-01-24 12:24:07
Gorsuch attends Senate leader’s dinner party; Cornyn views visit as a ‘return to civility’

Some eyebrows were raised when Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) revealed in a tweet on Monday that he had attended a dinner party that included Justice Neil M. Gorsuch “to talk about important issues facing our country.”

The party was hosted by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and included Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Law.com reports. Alexander later released a statement saying the dinner was “purely social.”

“We weren’t discussing political activities and we certainly know better than to discuss any issues before the court,” Alexander said.

Among those criticizing Gorsuch’s attendance was University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong.

“I am sure GOP twitter would be very chill if Justice Sonia Sotomayor was having dinner at the home of Senator Kamala Harris [D-Calif.] to ‘talk about important issues facing the country,’” she said in a tweet.

Cornyn also weighed in, saying he considered the party “a return to civility in Washington,” the Washington Times reports.

“We ought to have more people in Washington sitting and having dinner talking about important issues, so I think any objection is ridiculous,” he said.

Gorsuch, meanwhile, spoke about a need to return to civility in a speech Tuesday to students at Stockton University in New Jersey, a subject he has addressed in prior appearances. The Associated Press has a story.

Law.com points out that justices have socialized with influential people in the past. Justice Antonin Scalia went duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney, and Sotomayor reportedly dined with George and Amal Clooney, who once clerked for her when she was a federal appeals judge.

I enjoyed having dinner tonight at the home of Senator John Cornyn and his wife Sandy with our newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, Transportation Secretary Chao and a few of my other Senate colleagues to talk about important issues facing our country.