Submission Date


Document Type




Faculty Mentor

Gerard Fitzpatrick


Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

This paper analyzes Gorsuch’s approach to oral argument through careful reading of the oral argument transcripts from the 2017 term and use of scholarship on justices’ behavioral tendencies during oral argument. The paper builds upon previous scholars’ understandings of oral argument by testing whether Gorsuch’s first full term is consistent with the typical behavioral patterns of justices. Yet, the paper goes beyond many other scholars’ methodologies by using tool and content analysis before determining Gorsuch’s approach and identifying a cause for his specific behaviors. The paper finds that Gorsuch does not fit into one category of modern justices’ approaches to oral argument. Instead, because Gorsuch utilizes questions and interruptions in a one-sided approach, tone in specific cases or when triggered by another person’s actions, and silence in a sizable portion of arguments, I conclude that his approach to oral argument is a hybrid of already recognized categories.