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New Supreme Court Justices Are Hazed With Cafeteria Duty

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Will Neil Gorsuch be forced to wear a hairnet?

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Neil Gorsuch Is Sworn In As Associate Justice To Supreme Court Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As the newest member of the SCOTUS, newly appointed justice Neil Gorsuch will influence some of the most important judicial rulings in the country. Perhaps more urgently, he’ll also be responsible for overseeing the Supreme Court’s cafeteria.

The Associated Press reports that following Gorsuch’s swearing-in on Tuesday — the result of Republicans invoking the so-called “nuclear option” to break a Democratic filibuster — his immediate duties will include making decisions about what’s served in the court’s lunchroom, a traditional sort of hazing ritual that’s bequeathed on all incoming justices.

The cafeteria, which is open to the public, serves soups, sandwiches, and an array of hot items from quesadillas and burgers to fried chicken and waffles. Per the AP, over the years the rookie justices have made various changes to the cafeteria: Justice Elena Kagan, who was appointed in 2011, added a fro-yo machine, while Justice Stephen Breyer was responsible for adding Starbucks coffee to the menu.

“It’s a way of bringing them back down to Earth after the excitement of confirmation and appointment,” Justice John Roberts has said about the cafeteria duty tradition.

If the longer-standing justices really want to haze Gorsuch, maybe they should force him to read all the cafeteria’s online reviews: “I had the pasta of the day and it was barely edible,” one TripAdvisor critic writes. “Why on earth this ‘cafeteria’ is open for reviews I cannot tell but if you have any other options I recommend you use those,” a Danish tourist says. (Local media seems to concur: A Washington Post reviewer once declared the cafeteria’s food “unconstitutional.”)

In keeping with the tradition of “barely edible” food, perhaps Gorsuch will honor the man who appointed with a daily special of well-done steak topped with ketchup.

Cases, But Also Cafeteria Duty, Await Neil Gorsuch at High Court [AP]
The Supreme Court Cafeteria [TripAdvisor]

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