Chris Landau was the first attorney... on the receiving end of Gorsuch’s first question as a justice. Exactly what part, Gorsuch wanted to know, of the federal statute at issue provided for the path that Landau was advocating? Landau started to respond by pointing to a Supreme Court case, but he didn’t get far before Gorsuch interrupted him to focus again on what he described as “the plain language” of the statute.In contrast to that textualist pedestrianism, Justice Alito "stole the show" — in Howe's view — by complaining that the statute is “unbelievably complicated.” He asked, colorfully: "who wrote this statute? Someone who takes pleasure in taking the wings off flies?"
A few minutes later, Landau sought to reassure the justices that his client was not asking the Supreme Court to “break new ground” with its ruling. But Gorsuch again seemed skeptical, suggesting that what Landau was in fact asking the justices to do was to “just continue to make it up.”...
Gorsuch [asked] Brian Fletcher, the assistant to the U.S. solicitor general... whether it wouldn’t “be a lot easier” if we just followed the plain language of the statute. And when Fletcher started to outline the reasons underlying the government’s position, Gorsuch pressed Fletcher to explain “where” in the statute the government’s proposed rule found support.
You know what I take pleasure in? The opportunity to give a post the "insect politics" tag.