Becoming a US Supreme Court justice is the highest honor in American law.
Justice Elena Kagan is passing the torch, three unique responsibilities, to Neil Gorsuch, now the lowest person on the totem pole, who will keep it until the next justice is appointed.
One responsibility the Honorable Neil Gorsuch will take on is cafeteria duties, going over the monthly cafeteria agenda which may include finding a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
Another responsibility is to open the door to the conference room, their inner sanctum. Kagan explains, “If I’m like in the middle of a sentence—let’s say it’s my turn to speak or something—and there’s a knock on the door, everybody will just stare at me, waiting for me to open the door,” Kagan said. “It’s like a form of hazing. So, that’s what I do, I open the door. Pronto”
The Supreme Court is a place of seniority. When they meet, the chief justice speaks first, and the rest speak in order of longevity. The most junior justice speaks last and is responsible to take notes of the proceedings.