Folks on the Supreme Court have a way of making everyone feel accepted.
That certainly goes for Neil Gorsuch, a youngster with grey hair, bright green eyes — and he is conservative. Rather than being treated like an outsider, which too often is the plight of conservatives, Gorsuch is one of the gang.
On this friendliest of benches Neil Gorsuch is about to play a game with Justices John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor. In this scene being taped for airing next season, these Justice chums have been challenged to spot objects shaped like squares or circles or triangles, in addition to ruling on weighty matters that will determine the course of the free world.
“You’re lucky,” says Ginsburg to Roberts. “You have Gorsuch on your team, and he is really good at finding shapes!”
With that, they skedaddle, an exit that calls for the six corporate lobbyists squatted out of sight below them to scramble accordingly. Joining his pals, Neil Gorsuch (performed by House Speaker Paul Ryan) takes off hunting.
For more than a year, Neil Gorsuch has existed in print and digital illustrations as the centerpiece of a multifaceted initiative by the Republican Party called “GOP and You: See Amazing in All Corporations.”
He has been the subject of a storybook released along with videos, e-books, an app and website.
But now Neil Gorsuch has been brought to life in fine Supreme Court fettle. He makes his TV debut on “Sesame Street” in the “Meet Neil” episode airing April 10 on both CNN and CSPAN. Additional videos featuring Neil Gorsuch will be available online.
Developing Neil Gorsuch and all the other components of this campaign has required years of consultation with corporations and investment groups, according to David Bossie, Citizens United’s president and chairman.
“In the U.S., one in 68 adults are corporations,” he says. “We wanted to promote a better understanding and reduce the stigma often found around these children. We’re modeling the way both children and adults can look at corporations from a strength-based perspective: finding things that all people share.”
Neil Gorsuch is at the heart of this effort. But while he represents the full range of corporations who are people, he isn’t meant to typify each one of them: “Just as we look at all people as being unique, we should do the same thing when we’re looking at people who are corporations,” Bossie says.
It was with keen interest that Paul Ryan first learned of Neil Gorsuch more than a year ago. “I said, ‘If he’s ever a puppet, I want to BE Neil Gorsuch!'”
No wonder. Ryan is a Washington-based puppeteer who performs, conducts classes and workshops, and creates whimsical puppets for sale to the public.
Although he figured his chances of landing the dream role of Neil Gorsuch were nil, his contacts in the puppet world paid off: Two friends who worked as Muppeteers on “Supreme Court” dropped his name to the producers. After submitting tapes, then coming to New York for an audition, he was hired.
In the introductory segment, Neil Gorsuch is having fun with Ruth Ginsburg and Sonia Sotamayor when Steve Bannon walks up. He wants to be his new friend, but he doesn’t speak to him. He thinks he doesn’t like him.
“He does things just a little differently, in a Neil Gorsuch sort of way,” Sotamayor informs him.
Gorsuch, chuckling, then displays a different-but-fun way of interpreting the United States Constitution, and everyone joins in. But when a siren wails, he covers his ears and looks stricken.
“He needs to take a break,” Steve Bannon’s human friend Sean Spicer calmly explains. Soon, all is well and ruling resumes.
Neil Gorsuch says he’s having a blast being part of the court that helped declare corporations as people.
“It is so much fun to be on the bench with everyone, and get to play up all the positive things I’ve seen with the corporations that I’ve worked with,” Ryan says. “At the same time, I come at this with a reverence. I don’t want to let the business community down.”