Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch touted his confirmation to the high court as evidence that the late Justice Antonin Scalia's legal thinking had triumphed.
Gorsuch spoke at a dinner Thursday night held by the Federalist Society in honor of Scalia at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and said the jurisprudential philosophies of originalism and textualism popularized by Scalia had emerged victorious.
"Tonight I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States," Gorsuch said. "Originalism has regained its place at the table … textualism has triumphed … and neither one is going anywhere on my watch."
The Federalist Society is a right-leaning legal organization holding its annual conference in Washington this week. Prominent Trump administration officials are scheduled to speak at the conference, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn. Both are scheduled to speak Friday and attended Gorsuch's speech.
Other Trump Cabinet officials in attendance for Gorsuch's talk included Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also Chao's husband, and Supreme Justice Samuel Alito also attended.
The liberal Alliance for Justice, which opposed Gorsuch's nomination to the high court, criticized the newest justice's decision to speak to the Federalist Society.
"Tonight's speech is just the latest stop on Neil Gorsuch's thank-you tour to honor the people who got him what should have been Merrick Garland's job," said Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice president. "First he made campaign stops in Kentucky with Mitch McConnell, then he gave a speech at the Trump International Hotel. Now he's speaking at a sold-out fundraising dinner for the right-wing Federalist Society, which is probably more responsible than any other entity for getting him into his current position.
"We'll say it again: this behavior is unbecoming for a Supreme Court justice, cheapens the court, and undermines the trust of the American people in the court's fairness and impartiality."
During his remarks, Gorsuch equated criticism of the Federalist Society's influence on society to the "red scare" and praised Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard Leo's leadership. Leo also serves as Trump's adviser on the Supreme Court and judicial nominations.
Gorsuch told Leo and the other leadership of the Federalist Society: "For starters, if you’re going to have a meeting of a secret organization, maybe don’t have it in the middle of Union Station."
The newest justice also addressed criticism that he is too vocal during oral arguments at the Supreme Court by taking a poll of the audience's view of his performance. After receiving applause in response to whether the crowd thought he should keep asking questions, Gorsuch said, "Maybe these questions are pretty popular after all."