Judge Neil Gorsuch, picked by President Donald Trump to fill the Supreme Court slot left open after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, was sworn in this morning, becoming the 113th person to serve on the Supreme Court.
Trump earned the biggest political victory of his presidency and fulfilled a major campaign promise when the Senate voted on Friday to confirm the conservative federal appeals court judge from Colorado to the lifetime job despite fierce Democratic opposition. With Gorsuch aboard, the court once again has five conservative justices and four liberals.
At a public ceremony at the Rose Garden at White House today, Trump said of Gorsuch’s taking a seat on the Supreme Court, “I can say this is a great honor. And I got it done in the first 100 days. That’s even nice. You think that’s easy.”
Gorsuch was a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. He attended Harvard Law School and has a Ph.D. from Oxford, where he was a Marshall scholar. He was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote.
Judge Gorsuch took his judicial oath in a White House Rose Garden ceremony with Trump watching on, filling a vacancy that lingered for nearly 14 months after the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. The oath was administered by Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch worked as a clerk as a young lawyer. Gorsuch will become the first justice to serve alongside a former boss.
“To my new colleagues and the staff of the Supreme Court, thank you for the very warm welcome. I look forward to many happy years together,” Gorsuch said at the Rose Garden.
“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.
Gorsuch’s first big case will be when the Supreme Court hears arguments this month in a case about government funding and religious organizations.