Gorsuch, who was confirmed last spring and this week began his first full term, has shaken relations at the high court with actions that show -- depending on one's view -- a degree of arrogance or independence.
Whether personal tensions will ease is an open question.
But the larger, more consequential, query is whether the new justice, who has staked out the far right of the bench, will push other conservatives to the left.
The hardline, sometimes disdainful, approach of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia toward Justice Sandra Day O'Connor plainly turned off his fellow Republican appointee.
It can be difficult for people outside the marble walls to know truly the relationships among the nine in their private chambers.
But word seeps out, through clerks and other staff, through the justices' friends, and through the justices themselves.
But Roberts, who also separated himself from Gorsuch on a religious rights case and a death penalty appeal, may be more open to negotiating with liberals if Gorsuch continues to bolster the hard right.
As the argument continued and other justices asked questions, Gorsuch began to have second thoughts.
He has dominated oral arguments, cutting off and correcting other justices, expounding on the scope of the Constitution.During arguments last Monday he said at one point, "I start with the text of the Constitution, always a good place to start." On Tuesday, during a dispute over partisan gerrymanders, he said, "Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter, the Constitution.Where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines?"Anytime you have people who have to work together in close ways, and someone new comes in, those kinds of things are likely to happen. People rub each other the wrong way, and that's going to happen with any new person whose demeanor you're not used to."Gorsuch, 50, who like all justices has life tenure and will likely serve for many decades, has revealed himself at oral arguments and in a few opinions with an admonishing tone toward colleagues.He sometimes speaks or writes as if the majority does not share his regard for the Constitution.
With an approach that evinces the opposite of Roberts' concern for appearances, Gorsuch spoke to a gathering of the conservative Fund for American Studies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, embroiled in litigation about unconstitutional financial benefit for the President who appointed him.