Supreme Court's newest justice has an elk as an office mate - KCTV5

Supreme Court's newest justice has an elk as an office mate

Posted: Updated:
(Christopher J. Scalia by AP). This undated photo provided by Christopher Scalia, shows an elk shot by Justice Antonin Scalia, that has remained in the new Justice Neil Gorsuch's chambers in the Supreme Court in Washington.  When Supreme Court Justice ... (Christopher J. Scalia by AP). This undated photo provided by Christopher Scalia, shows an elk shot by Justice Antonin Scalia, that has remained in the new Justice Neil Gorsuch's chambers in the Supreme Court in Washington. When Supreme Court Justice ...
By JESSICA GRESKO
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - When Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the Supreme Court earlier this year he got Justice Antonin Scalia's seat, his office and his elk, Leroy.

In recent appearances, Gorsuch has been telling the story of how the elk - actually just its mounted head - came to be his office mate.

The story starts more than a decade ago when Scalia shot the elk on a hunting trip and had its head mounted and hung in his Supreme Court office.

Gorsuch explained at an event in Washington last week that after Scalia died in 2016 it seemed that the elk was destined "to become homeless." That's because the elk head, part of an animal estimated to have weighed around 900 pounds, is "much too much for anyone's living room wall," Gorsuch said.

"And then someone got the idea that Leroy might make, well, a sort of unusual welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift for the new guy. What a gift," Gorsuch said.

Christopher Scalia, one of the late justice's nine children and the co-editor of a collection of his father's speeches published this week, said in a telephone interview that his father shot the Rocky Mountain elk on a hunting trip in Colorado in 2003. Though the justice had other hunting trophies displayed in his home including white tail deer, an antelope or two and a boar's head, the elk was "way too big for our house," Christopher Scalia said. So Leroy took up residence at the Supreme Court facing the justice's desk.

"He was proud of it and he enjoyed showing it off," Christopher Scalia said.

Glen Summers, a former law clerk of Scalia's who was with him when he shot Leroy, said Scalia made a "magnificent, long-range" shot of some 460 yards. It was the only elk Scalia ever killed, he said. As for why the justice called him Leroy, that's a mystery, Summers said.

After Scalia died, Leroy was crated up and sent to Summers in Colorado, he said. And when Gorsuch was nominated to the court, Summers asked what others were also thinking, he said: Would Gorsuch, a fellow conservative and outdoorsman, take Leroy back to Washington? Gorsuch "graciously accepted," Summers said. So back across the country Leroy went. He was presented to Gorsuch at a reunion of Scalia clerks earlier this year.

Gorsuch joked last week that he is actually "delighted to share space with Leroy" and that they "share a few things in common."

"Turns out, we're both native Coloradans. We both received a rather shocking summons to Washington," he said. "Neither of us is ever going to forget Justice Scalia."

___

Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.