On Monday April 10, Justice Neil Gorsuch of Colorado’s 10th District Court was sworn in as the 113th Supreme Court Justice, restoring the court’s conservative-liberal balance.
The swearing in of a Supreme Court justice involves the administration of two oaths. Chief Justice Roberts administered the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony attended by Gorsuch’s family. The Judicial Oath was delivered at a ceremony in The White House Rose Garden. The Rose Garden ceremony was especially poignant because Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the oath. Early in his career, Judge Gorsuch served as a clerk for Justice Kennedy. Justice Gorsuch is the first Supreme Court justice in history to serve alongside a justice for whom he previously clerked.
“I cannot tell you how honored I am today to have my mentor Justice Kennedy to administer the judicial oath, a very beautiful oath, as he did 11 years ago,” Gorsuch said. “This process has reminded me how outrageously blessed I am.”
Judge Gorsuch joins the Supreme Court after a vacancy of over a year which occurred with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. “To the Scalia family, I won’t ever forget that the seat I inherit today is that of a very, very great man,” Gorsuch said. Justice Gorsuch who describes himself as a “textualist” shares the “originalist” view of the Constitution espoused by Justice Scalia.
Gorsuch’s 54-45 confirmation vote, which was made possible through Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deploying the so called “nuclear option” which enabled confirmation through a simple majority instead of the previous threshold of 60 votes, follows months of a contentiousness between Republicans and Democrats who were upset that President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland never received a hearing.
Despite the right-left divide surrounding the Gorsuch nomination, today’s ceremony in the Rose Garden was a proud moment for President Donald Trump. “I’ve always heard that the most important thing that a president of the United States does is appoint people — hopefully great people like this appointment — to the United States Supreme,” Trump said. “And I got it done in the first 100 days.”
Justice Gorsuch officially begins hearing cases next week.
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