Justice Gorsuch to speak at Trump hotel next month

Justice Gorsuch to speak at Trump hotel next month
© Greg Nash

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an event next month being held at the Trump International Hotel in D.C.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) announced this week that Gorsuch, who was put on the court by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE, will headline an invite-only luncheon on Sept. 28 to celebrate the group's 50th anniversary and “the constitutional framework that has protected our free society and made America exceptional.” 

The hotel has been at the center of a lawsuit watchdog groups have brought against Trump alleging he has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his hotel. 

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In May, protesters projected the words “Pay Trump bribes here” on the side of the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The liberal Alliance for Justice on Thursday called for Gorsuch to withdraw from the speaking engagement.

"This is as unsavory an enterprise as you can imagine: a Supreme Court justice effectively collaborating in President Trump's ongoing efforts to monetize the presidency, and doing it just days before he is set to hear a case in which the President himself has an enormous stake,” the group’s president Nan Aron said in a statement.

"The Trump Hotel is ground zero for the controversy over whether Trump is violating the Constitution's emoluments clause, a legal debate which may itself end up before the Supreme Court one day. Justice Gorsuch should have known better than to sign up as the headliner for an event that will line Donald Trump's pockets in a way that is at best ethically sketchy and at worst downright unconstitutional, and that compromises his own independence to boot."

Gorsuch’s appearance at the hotel is scheduled to come just weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to hear a case challenging Trump’s temporary ban on nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. 

He joined the court’s most conservative members — Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito – in June to dissent from the court’s decision to reinstate part of Trump’s travel ban but carve out an exemption for individuals with a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the U.S. Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito said they would have reinstated the full ban.

Republicans have repeatedly pointed to Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment, as one of the president’s biggest accomplishments to date.

His appearance comes as a surprise as the hotel has reportedly become a meeting place for Republican leaders, members of Trump's Cabinet and conservative groups. 

Steve Slattery, TFAS’s executive vice president, told The Hill that the group chose to hold its anniversary luncheon at the Trump International Hotel long before it invited Gorsuch to be the keynote speaker. 

“I think it's appropriate he’s speaking to an education organization that teaches the founding principles of the Constitution without regard to the location of the event. Justices speak at many venues to many organizations. As to the appropriateness, that’s something to ask him,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of high profile speakers address our students and organization over the years. We used to go with our law students to the Supreme Court to meet with Justice Scalia so we thought it’s appropriate the person who took his seat should be invited to speak."

A request for comment from the Supreme Court press office was not returned.

On its website, The Fund for American Studies claims to have “educated more than 16,000 students during our semester- and summer-length programs that teach the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership to students and young professionals in America and around the world.” 

Updated at 4:17 p.m.