Neil Gorsuch on Monday became the 101st associate justice of the Supreme Court and President Trump’s first high court appointee.
Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath to Gorsuch in the sun-soaked White House Rose Garden shortly after 11 a.m. Hours earlier, Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath in a private ceremony in the justices’ conference room at the court.
Kennedy said the oath Gorsuch took “reminds us that we as a people are bound together, that we as a people find our self-definition, our respect, our heritage and our destiny in the Constitution.”
Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, and two teenage daughters were present for the swearing-in ceremony.
Gorsuch, 49, was a member of the Colorado-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He is filling the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, which has been vacant for more than a year after Republicans refused to hold a hearing or vote on former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
The Senate confirmed Gorsuch last week after Republicans changed chamber rules to block the minority party from being able to filibuster. With Gorsuch, the court now returns to a body of nine, with the majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents.
Trump boasted that he was able to get Gorsuch confirmed in his first 100 days in office.
“I’ve always heard the most important thing a president of the United States does is appoint people, hopefully great people like this appointment, to the United States Supreme Court, and I can say this is a great appointment and I got it done in the first 100 days,” he said. “You think that’s easy?”
“I have no doubt you will go down as one of the truly great justices in the history of the Supreme Court,” he later added.
Conservatives have hailed Gorsuch for his often strict interpretation of the Constitution, which largely falls in line with the man he will be replacing.
Trump recognized Scalia’s wife, Maureen, who was also present for Monday’s ceremony at the White House. The president added that Americans are “blessed” to have Gorsuch, who, like his predecessor, is “a man who will likewise be a devoted servant of the law.”
“He will decide cases based not on his personal preferences, but based on a fair and objective reading of the law,” he said.
Gorsuch, however, frustrated Democrats and liberal groups over four days of confirmation hearings for refusing to share his views on even the most widely accepted Supreme Court rulings, such as Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal nationwide.
Gorsuch on Monday thanked the president, his family, White House staff, former colleagues and law clerks, and his friends for their support.
In addressing the American people, he said he is humbled by the trust that’s been bestowed on him.
“I will never forget that to whom much is given, much is expected,” he said. “And I promise that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation.”