Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is taking on a new role as the honorary chairman of a nonpartisan group devoted to education about the Constitution, replacing former Vice President Joe Biden.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia said Tuesday that Gorsuch, named to the high court by President Donald Trump, will serve as a spokesman for civics education and civility in politics.
The 51-year-old Gorsuch is the first sitting Supreme Court Justice to be the center’s chairman. Vice President Biden stepped down when he launched his campaign for the presidency in April.
Justice Gorsuch said he’s concerned by polls that show most Americans would flunk a citizenship test and many say incivility keeps them away from public affairs.
“For a government of and by the people to work, everyone must have some idea how our Constitution works and we must be able to talk to each other about important ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Gorsuch said in a comment provided by the Supreme Court.
Jeffrey Rosen, the National Constitution Center’s president and CEO, said the organization was attracted by Gorsuch’s commitment to civics and civility. “We’re genuinely excited about this partnership because Justice Gorsuch is so passionate about the need for nonpartisan civics education,” Rosen said.
Despite Gorsuch’s adherence to civility, the justice was put on the court by President Donald Trump, whose famously combative approach to politics stands in contrast. But Rosen said, “The attitudes of the president who appointed him did not factor in.”
Past chairmen have included former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The honorary chairman has alternated between Democrats and Republicans, Rosen said.
The center’s home in Philadelphia is near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution was drafted more than 230 years ago.