Neil Gorsuch was on Monday sworn in as the new judge of the US Supreme Court, capping a gruelling confirmation process and filling the seat once held by the late conservative icon Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch, 49, took the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Supreme Court’s Justice’s Conference Room. He was accompanied by his wife Louise, who held the Bible, and his two daughters.
Later, in a public ceremony at the White House, Justice Anthony Kennedy -- Gorsuch’s former boss -- administered the Judicial Oath.
Confirmed by the Senate on Friday after a bitter months-long fight, Gorsuch was sworn in as the US Supreme Court’s ninth justice.
With his swearing in, Gorsuch became the 113th Supreme Court judge and the first one to be confirmed by the Senate and sworn in under the 45th US President.
Gorsuch, in his remarks, promised American people “to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws” of this nation.
“To the American people, I’m humbled by the trust placed in me today. I will never forget that to whom much is given, much will be expected. And I promise you that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation,” Gorsuch said.
Early on in his career, he served as a law clerk for Justice Kennedy. This is the first time in American history that a former law clerk has joined his boss on the benches of the Supreme Court.
“We are here to celebrate history -- the taking of the Judicial Oath by the newest member of the Supreme Court,” Trump said.
In his remarks, the US President said the nation was counting on Gorsuch to be “impartial and fair: I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion”.
Trump said the ceremony had a special meaning as Justice Gorsuch was filling the seat of one of the greatest Supreme Court judges in American history, and that is Antonin Scalia, who was a “terrific judge and a terrific person”.
Scalia was a patriot who revered the Constitution, Trump said.
“He was beloved by many, very many, who are here today. And he is deeply missed by all of us,” said the President.
In Justice Gorsuch, Trump said, Americans see a man of great and unquestioned integrity, they see a man of unmatched qualifications and most of all, and most importantly, they see a man who is deeply faithful to the Constitution of the US.
“He will decide cases based not on his personal preferences, but based on a fair and objective reading of the law,” Trump said.
“Our country is counting on you to be wise, impartial and fair, to serve under our laws, not over them, and to safeguard the right of the people to govern their own affairs,” he said.
“I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion and that the decisions you will make will not only protect our Constitution today, but for many generations of Americans to come,” Trump said.
Gorsuch fills up the seat that became vacant by the death of Justice Scalia last year.
Gorsuch has been compared favourably to Scalia by conservatives hopeful for another originalist on the court.
Gorsuch is likely to cast a deciding vote in a number of high-profile cases, which in part explains the terse and partisan hearing the he faced.
The high stakes led Republicans to trigger the “nuclear option” last week to kill the 60-vote filibuster threshold for Supreme Court nominees.
Image: US President Donald Trump points to the audience after the swearing in of Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters